PM soothes cash-strapped airlines

While there was no specific assurance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the hour-long meeting held with top executives of the country's airlines on Saturday morning, sources said he assured them that the government would be ready to help the cash-strapped carriers address their "legitimate grievances".

Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya and Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi were not present at the meeting. The airlines' concerns included high airport charges, high tax on aviation turbine fuel (ATF), ground handling policy and permission to fly on international routes. The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) estimated that domestic private carriers were likely to report a loss of Rs 3,500 crore in the first six months of this financial year.

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