Praful Patel says government agencies neglecting aviation sector

September 29th, 2008 - 11:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel Monday came down heavily on the government, saying some state agencies did not understand the aviation sector and were neglecting it.“It is unfortunate that some agencies in the government do not understand the aviation sector. They treat the sector just like any other mode of transport and fail to understand the importance of the aviation sector,” the minister said.

“I feel sorry for that,” he told reporters during an interaction with them on the forthcoming India-Aviation 2008, India’s first-ever civilian air show to be held in Hyderabad from Oct 15.

Patel said taxes on aviation fuel were too high - 35 percent in some states, but the government has failed to address the concerns of the aviation industry.

Maintaining that air fares would come down soon, Patel said: “The government does not regulate fares. It is good to see air fuel prices coming down. We hope that it would reduce further.”

Asked to comment on airlines not refunding fares to passengers in case of cancellation or delay of flights or unavailability of seats, the practice also followed by India’s national carrier, Air India, the minister said it was a policy decision and would need advice from the departments concerned.

On the forthcoming air show in Hyderabad, he said it would be on the lines of the Farnborough International Air show and Paris air show.

“This is for the first time that we are organising an international air show. All major aircraft manufacturers - including Boeing, Airbus and agencies concerning the aviation sector - over 150 companies, of which 125 will be from overseas - would take part,” Patel said.

The minister said he does not expect much orders and business at the air show owing to global slowdown in the aviation industry. “This is for the first time that we are organising such a show. Let us first do it well before we make it a regular affair from next year,” he added.

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