Thursday, July 22, 2021

Government forms 3 panels to revive aviation industry

New Delhi: Weeks after taking charge of civil aviation ministry, Jyotiraditya Scindia has formed three committees to advise him on industry-related issues. The three advisory committees comprise of CEOs and promoters of airlines, airport operators and maintenance and repair organisations (MRO), cargo carriers, flight training organisations and ground handling companies.

Hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, airlines in India continue to incur huge losses with no signs of a recovery in near future. According to rating agency ICRA, Indian airlines had seen net losses of Rs 21,000 crore in FY21 and estimated a net loss of Rs 12,700 crore for FY22, with the industry debt level increasing to around Rs 50,000 crore in the ongoing fiscal. 

There is also strong opposition from some players on the Centre’s decision to cap airfares and passenger capacity as air traffic has started showing improvement in recent weeks after the dreadful second Covid-19 wave. Additionally, the sector is grappled with high debts. As for the workforce, employees in this sector have seen widespread layoffs and salary cuts.

The newly appointed minister hopes to fix these issues and bring back the sector on a growth path. Scindia also faces the challenging task of completing the much delayed privatisation of national carrier Air India.

The committee for airlines includes names such as Rahul Bhatia of IndiGo, Ajay Singh of SpiceJet, Ness Wadia of Go Air, Sunil Bhaskaran, CEO of AirAsia India, Bhaskar Bhat, Chairman of Vistara and Raiv Bansal, Chairman and Managing Director of Air India.

This committee will advise the government on steps needed to improve domestic and international connectivity, matters related to leasing and financing of aircraft, aircraft and component manufacturing and other regulatory issues.

The committee on airports includes names such as GBS Raju, head of airports division at GMR group, Hari Marar, CEO of Bangalore International Airport, Jeet Adani- head of airports business at Adani group.

The group on MROs, cargo, ground handling and flight training will consist of senior government officials and industry officials.

22/07/21 New Indian Express

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