Opposition flays private airlines for high airfares

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Opposition members in the Lok Sabha on Monday lashed out at private airlines for not passing on benefits of falling fuel prices to passengers while the ruling BJP members blamed the Congress-led UPA government for the financial problems faced by state-run Air India.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jagdambika Pal also demanded that to do away with air traffic congestion over the Delhi airport especially at peak hours, a new airport should be built to cater to the national capital region, while some members called for a new aviation policy.

Congress leader K.C. Venugopal said airlines have not passed on the benefits of fall in fuel prices to passengers and they were looting the passengers.

Initiating the discussion on Demands for Grants for the ministries of civil aviation and tourism, he said the price of Aviation Turbine Fuel has come down resulting in huge benefits to airlines but at the same time common people and passengers continued to suffer.

He claimed even Air India has benefitted from fall in ATF prices and demanded from the government what actions it proposed on high air fares.

The Congress member was soon supported by lawmakers from other parties.

Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy urged the the government to rein in the rising airfares.

“I feel that the government should have a role in having some regulations,” he said.

He also said it is high time the government frames a new aviation policy.

Among others, P.D. Rai of Sikkim Democratic Front alleged that most airports are managed in PPP project and private sector partners were found wanting in their role.

Among others, expelled Rashtriya Janata Dal member Rajesh Ranjan, RJD’s Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav and Janata Dal-United’s Kaushalendra Kumar also spoke.

“I want to know from the minister when will Air India be back on its feet?” Kumar asked.

Venugopal criticised the government for reducing budgetary allocation to Air India, a charge denied by BJP and other NDA members.

The Congress member requested the central government to expedite Kerala government’s proposal to launch Air Kerala to help citizens of the state going to the Gulf countries.

BJP member Dushyant Singh said the financial mess in Air India was started by the erstwhile UPA dispensation, and denied that fund allocation to the national carrier has been reduced by the Narendra Modi government.

Singh flayed Congress government for the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India.



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