Covid: Airlines seek support to tide over losses
The central government should change its position and support the Indian airlines and other aviation stakeholders in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, a top official of global airlines body IATA said on Wednesday.
The Indian carriers have laid off employees, cut salaries and posted significant losses during the last few quarters as coronavirus-induced travel restrictions have drastically impacted the aviation sector.
“The Indian government has not come forward in support of airlines and we do urge them to change that position and to assist the airlines and airports and other aviation stakeholders,” Conrad Clifford, IATA regional vice-president for the Asia Pacific region, said.
“This is something we continue to encourage and urge the Indian government to do,” he said at a virtual press meet.
The Indian airlines have sought an interest-free credit line of at least $1.5 billion for the sector, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had told the Rajya Sabha on September 16.
The airlines want the government to ask banks and financial institutions to defer repayments of loans by the aviation industry by six months, the minister said.
Clifford said given the increase in domestic activity in India, he hopes the Indian carriers would get back to a cash positive situation, possibly earlier than carriers that do not have a strong domestic market.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents around 290 airlines across the world.