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Ministry mulls CMs' meet on aviation in December
Hindu Business Line; New Delhi, Oct 22

The Ministry of Civil Aviation proposes to hold a meeting of chief ministers in mid-December to discuss the problems faced by the civil aviation sector."The Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, has already spoken to the Prime Minister about the conference. We have asked the newly set up Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) to flag aviation related issues which concern State governments such as taxes imposed on the sector," the Secretary Civil Aviation, Mr Ashok Chawla, told newspersons after a meeting with airline chief executives officers.

Wish list

The Ministry has also requested the airline industry to present its wish list for the next Budget by the middle of next month so that these could be taken up with Ministry of Finance and some relief sought in Budget 2008-09, the Secretary added.

At the meeting, airlines requested the Government to review the new ground handling policy that is to be implemented from January 1, 2009 and seeks to restricts the number of agencies allowed to provide such services.

Red eye flights

The airlines were also asked to look at operating late night flights more commonly known as 'red eye flights' from seven or eight busy airports around the country. "The airlines were in favour of operating these flights but asked the Government to look at flight duty time limitations (FDTL) regulations for the crew and consider providing concessions for these operations," Mr Chawla said.

The airlines also sought more departures from Delhi and were informed that this would become possible soon as not only would the third runway be ready but Airports Authority of India (AAI) would have finished training of more air traffic controller (ATC).

The meeting was attended by the SpiceJet CEO, Mr Siddhanta Sharma, the Jet Airways, CEO, Mr Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, and the Managing Director, GoAir, Mr Jeh Wadia, among others.