Cut taxes and airport charges to help Indian airlines: IATA

The IATA today appealed to the Narendra Modi-led government to slash taxes, restrain private airport operators from levying high charges and relax "excessive" regulations in the aviation industry to maximise India's full potential to generate economic growth.

"You are a great country, a sleeping economic giant. You have great opportunities and capabilities that very few countries have. But unfortunately, the previous administration did not make the maximum use of the hidden Indian potential," Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways who is the President of the 70th International Air and Transport Association (IATA) assembly being held here said.

"I was very touched to hear the speech of Prime Minister Modi when he said that if each Indian takes one step forward, that will be 1.2 billion steps and this really is correct for India.

"And for the aviation industry in India, the potential is so huge that even if you allotted capacity to every airline that is applying to fly to India, you will still have load factors in excess of 80 per cent.

"So I would urge Prime Minister Modi's government to look at aviation as a very important tool to generating economic growth in India because it is only aviation that will bring you trade, tourism, in return bring more employment and bring economic prosperity for the Indian people who have upto now been deprived so much economic opportunities that they have in their country.

"I hope this is a very strong message to whoever is listening," Al Baker said.

IATA, the trade association for world's airlines, Director General & Chief Executive Officer Tony Tyler said he too had "quite a long wish-list for the new government coming to power in India."

"To share a few, it would be to "stop political interference" in the industry, reducing excessive regulations, slashing of state taxes on jet fuel and to build the Navi Mumbai airport.

"I hope to visit India in not too long and perhaps discuss those and other ways (to help the aviation industry) with the new government and we wish the new government every success in maximising the potential of the Indian aviation industry," Tyler said.

They were replying to a question on their wish-list for the new government to develop Indian aviation.

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