Friday, October 22, 2021

Looking forward to Indian carriers purchasing many more wide-bodied aircraft: Scindia

New Delhi: The Centre is looking forward to Indian airlines purchasing and leasing many more wide-bodied aircraft once the Indian aviation sector recuperates from the Covid-induced crisis, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Friday.

Only two Indian carriers -- Air India and Vistara -- currently have wide-bodied aircraft, which have bigger fuel tanks that allows them to operate long-haul flights such as on India-US routes.

Scindia, while speaking at a conference of Public Affairs Forum of India, said Air India's successful sale to the Tata group is a testament of the belief of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and this government that "the private sector has an integral to play in making sure that service value proposition is there for all customers".

"I think in many ways, this (privatisation) changes the long standing perception of the government in business," he added.

The Centre had announced on October 8 that a Tata group subsidiary made the winning bid for Air India by quoting Rs 18,000 crore.

Both Air India and Vistara are owned by the Tata group now.

The minister said: "Our national flagship carrier (Air India), over the last 10 years, due to the policies of the past governments, had really become a drag on the resources of the country."

"That divestment process was completed. The hand over is in process. I wish the new owners all success," he mentioned.

Scindia said there is a need to have a level playing field and break down of all the gatekeepers to allow proliferation of aviation sector players -- not only new players but also existing players that will augment capacity.

Stating that he does not want to put the cart before the horse, Scindia said once the normalisation happens, there should be expansion of capacities.

22/10/21 PTI/Times of India

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