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BUSINESS / ECONOMY

Airline execs wary of being at Wings India, govt says event on

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Even as many airline executives are wary of participating in the government’s flagship aviation event Wings India, the Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to continue with the mega air show.

The four-day event starting from March 12 at Hyderabad is expected to see participation of executives from top aviation giants like Airbus, Embraer, Rolls Royce and Boeing.

A senior government official argued that as much as 90 per cent of the participants are domestic and only 10 per cent from foreign countries, thus making no sense for cancelling the air show.

The Ministry has maintained this regardless of Health Ministry warning against big gatherings of people.

Speaking to IANS, the official said that several precautionary measures would be taken at the air show to ensure that infections do not spread. The measures include placing sanitisers and face masks at places and regular announcements of Dos and Don’ts.

“Only 10 per cent executives were expected from foreign countries. Now, in the case of countries where there is visa restrictions, officials from embassies concerned would be taking part. The sentiments in aviation and travel sector are already down, cancelling the event would further dampen the spirit,” the official said.

While India reported only three cases of Coronavirus infections earlier, the number of cases has now reached 28 triggering panic among people. There is growing fear of infections and some of the companies have mulled work-from-home for their staff to ensure the chances of possible infections are minimised.

“Honestly, we do not want to attend Wings India. It will be better if the government cancels the event in larger interest of the people and country,” an aviation industry executive, wishing not to be named, said.

During Wings India air show, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Aviation Secretary P.S. Kharola and several senior government functionaries are scheduled to participate. Among the key foreign participants are Ghana’s Aviation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda, Egyptian Aviation Minister Pilot Mohamed Manar Anba and Sheikh Engr Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, RAK Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al Khaimah.

Companies from across the aviation spectrum such as aircraft financing, airports, engine manufacturers and infrastructure development funds are scheduled to be in attendance at the desi version of Paris and Singapore air shows.

The theme of this year’s Wings India is “Flying for All”.

–IANS

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