Wednesday, 14 March 2012

About 500 new international air routes to be opened from Indian cities

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 14: The Centre has decided to throw open
international routes for domestic private airlines to make the
aviation sector in the country financially stronger, said Union Civil
Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.

Addressing a press conference after inaugurating the third edition of
the biennial India Aviation 2012 here on Wednesday, Ajit Singh said
the Civil Aviation Ministry had taken a number of measures to
strengthen the aviation sector and protect domestic private airlines
from losses. The measures he said included permission to private
airlines to directly import aviation turbine fuel and access foreign
direct investment in the domestic sector.

Ajit Singh said the government’s decision to increase international
traffic rights would help private domestic airlines to make up some of
their losses. “International routes are profitable and permitting
domestic airlines on international routes will help them make
profits,” he said adding that between 500 and 600 new international
flights would be added soon. The new destinations include Hanoi,
Ethiopia, Egypt and Uzbekistan. The focus would be more on Africa and
Australia.

Referring to the bailout package of the national carrier, Air India,
Ajit Singh said the Union Cabinet is likely to take a decision later
this week. A bailout package of Rs 6,500 crore has been worked out to
help Air India come out of blue. The reconstruction package, he said
included final permission to buy Boeing’s fuel-efficient Dreamliner
aircraft and conversion of a part of its short-term loans to long-term
loans.

"We will bail Air India out, but not indefinitely. It has to improve
its efficiency," he said.

To a question, Ajit Singh said the Centre was very much interested in
setting up an aviation university in the country. “We are keen on
setting up a world class training and education infrastructure for the
aviation industry,” he observed. 

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