Millennium Post

Aviation sector encountering turbulent weather, needs policy overhaul: Raju

"We are running through a lot of turbulent weather ... not only the public sector, private sector is also crashing. Kingfisher crashing and right now SpiceJet seems to be giving us heart attacks as far as airlines are concerned," Raju said. He was speaking at the MoU signing ceremony between national carrier Air India and National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) for a joint venture to develop and manage Air India land assets.

The minister's comment comes in the backdrop of industrialist Kalanithi Maran's budget carrier SpiceJet curtailing its operations by reducing both flights and fleet in view of fund crunch.

The airline has reported fifth straight quarter of net losses for the July-September period, at Rs 310 crore, although it is down from the year-ago period when it had a net loss of Rs 559 crore.

Besides, the airline auditors in their recent report have also cast doubts over the ability of SpiceJet to run it as a "going concern".

Noting that the growth in the aviation sector was restricted due to some "odd reasons", Raju said certain regulations needs to be relooked to attract investments in the sector.

"For some odd reasons, we have restricted the growth of airlines in the country. We have developed regulations which pulls back Indians, which does not allow Indians to perform. So, I think there also we have to work," he said.

Advising Air India to work as a team, he said the cohesiveness of a team only delivers performance.
"Somehow we have lost sight on that and its high time we get back to it," he said, urging the national airline to keep its focus on core business of aviation.

"Air India has collected a lot of art objects ... somehow our focus should not be shifting to real estate or art. Its mainstay should be aviation." On Air India forming a joint venture with NBCC to monetise its land assets, the minister said the strength of the two public sector companies will be complimentary in the interest of the country.

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