Friday, August 21, 2020

Airlines seek government support

The civil aviation ministry will pitch for some relief to the battered aviation sector following several rounds of meetings with the airline operators.

Officials of the aviation  ministry plan to meet their finance counterparts to take up the proposal of the airlines, which includes loan waivers, soft loans and deferment of payment to airports for six months.

Sources said private airline operators such as SpiceJet, IndiGo, Air Asia, GoAir and Vistara have met the ministry officials several times since the Rs 20-lakh-crore stimulus package was announced by the government.
The package did not have any specific relief for the industry and the operators have been calling for some kind of sector-specific measures similar to the ones taken in other countries.

The ministry officials hope some hand-holding measures could be worked out for the sector.

They expect air bubble pacts to be signed with more countries and hope a reduction in the number of Covid-19 cases would spur air travel within the country.

Analysts, however, feel the finance ministry does not have much elbow room to offer relief. Any support is likely to be in the form of liquidity measures either through fiscal or monetary policies.

“The industry’s financial challenges will become increasingly apparent from September/October. Promoters, bankers, private equity and the government are all unwilling to provide support given the demand risk and uncertainty,” CAPA India said.
21/08/20 R. Suryamurthy/Telegraph
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