Policies that support Indian carriers needed, says SpiceJet’s Ajay Singh

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Published: June 17, 2020 6:30 AM

In terms of passengers, Singh said India had a minuscule share of traffic into the US and Europe in terms of cargo, which was under 5%. More than 95% is carried by foreign carriers, “it is just completely wrong,” he said.

Sharing statistics on how Indian aviation has fared since the airlines were allowed to operate, he said that in terms of domestic travel the country has had 1,25,000 passengers.Sharing statistics on how Indian aviation has fared since the airlines were allowed to operate, he said that in terms of domestic travel the country has had 1,25,000 passengers.

SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said on Tuesday that Indian aviation needs both intent and policy to tide over the crisis at hand, and to also grow the aviation sector.

In a candid conversation over a webinar hosted by GMR, Singh said that countries across the world have used aviation as a strategic resource to increase the size and value of their hubs, and improve tourism and business in their countries. However, India has gone the other way, he said.

“We pretty much promoted foreign airlines in our country to the extent that it is hard to believe that Emirates is not our national carrier. So, this is our moment and we need to ensure that we make India-centric policies and at least those policies are reciprocal,” Singh said.

He added that it was time airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad became global aviation hubs. “It absolutely needs to happen. It needs both intent and needs policy”.

In terms of passengers, Singh said India had a minuscule share of traffic into the US and Europe in terms of cargo, which was under 5%. More than 95% is carried by foreign carriers, “it is just completely wrong,” he said.

“Even a country like Ethopia where we have 28 movements between the two countries, the share of India in those is zero. Ethiopia carries all the 28 flights. (The reason is) we have had very liberal policies compared to countries like China and the Middle East,” Singh said.

He added that it was time that the government thought through these issues. He also highlighted that India was not able to give its airlines and airports financial support, which was what countries around the world have done. “We know that we have to compete with the same airlines, which have got billions of dollars from their countries, so if we don’t have the luxury to be in a rich country where we can be supported, we should at least be supported by policy measures. We are hoping that with PM’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ some of this is going to happen,” he said.

Minister for civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, who was also part of the webinar, said that civil aviation is critical and it is in the interest of all stakeholders to have an ecosystem that works to regain pre-Covid levels of domestic and international travel.

Sharing statistics on how Indian aviation has fared since the airlines were allowed to operate, he said that in terms of domestic travel the country has had 1,25,000 passengers. “We are doing on an average 70,000 passengers per day and we have done total of 30,700 flights, and we have done overall 12 lakh total number of passengers in the 22 days or so of operations”. He added that the primary focus of the ministry is to ensure people fly safely.

Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO, Delhi International Airport, said that the airport is following strict protocols to ensure safe travel for pasengers, for which the approaches have been divided into four Ps, namely people, places, processes and passengers. “Our entire functioning is centred around these four Ps so that the travel is safe and comfortable”.

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