Government Determined To Sell Air India, Says Aviation Minister
A Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner aircraft operated by Air India Ltd. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Government Determined To Sell Air India, Says Aviation Minister

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Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday said that the government is determined to sell the national carrier Air India.

The government hopes to sell the airline in a short period of time, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters in New Delhi. Air India will post an operational profit this year, he added.

The minister said he has also ordered setting up a mechanism to regularly monitor airfares in the country. He, however, said the government currently does not have any intention to regularise the fares.

“I have ordered for setting up a mechanism in the Civil Aviation Ministry and the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) to monitor air fares on a regular basis. We will use this data (obtained) to discuss with them (airlines),” the minister told reporters in New Delhi.

Asked if the government will regularise airfares, Puri said, “it is basically to monitor on an ongoing basis how airlines pricing is working. If we can get a lesson from that, we will have a discussion with the CEOs (chief executive officers) of airlines.”

Puri said the Centre is also concerned about higher taxes on aviation turbine fuel, adding he has requested the state governments to reduce excise duty on it.

“There are higher taxes on airlines turbine fuel. I am in touch with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on how excise duty can be reduced. I have written to chief ministers to bring down excise duty,” he said.

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