Aviation sector to turn the corner in 2010: Praful

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 29 2009, 20:08pm hrs
After the downturn witnessed by airlines last year, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the "rebound" in air traffic in the last few months could lead to restoration of stability in 2010.

"Specially since October, there has been a rebound in air traffic figures. I hope things will stabilise next year," Patel said in New Delhi.

Observing that 2009 was "a tumultuous and eventful year for civil aviation worldwide," he said, "we can draw satisfaction that the worst is over and once again flying will be a preferred choice for travellers."

Domestic air traffic figures showed slight signs of improvement at the fag end of 2009 even as the combined losses of all airlines was recorded at over Rs 8,000 crore.

The major dip in passenger traffic caused by the economic recession and dampened business travel, started looking up in the last two-three months of 2009, but the yields continued to remain low.

Barring only two carriers -- IndiGo and Paramount - all scheduled airlines continued to post huge losses. Led by Air India, which was estimated to suffer a loss of about Rs 5,000 crore in 2008-09, Kingfisher Airlines posted a loss of Rs 1,602 crore, Jet Airways-JetLite combine Rs 1,032 crore, SpiceJet Rs 352.50 crore and GoAir Rs 22.5 crore.

Air India's financial troubles saw the government coming to its aid and allocating Rs 800 crore as the first tranche of equity infusion in the national carrier. It also approved a Jet Airways proposal to raise USD 400 million from foreign institutional investors.