Taxes killing Indian aviation, says Jet Air chief Goyal

Seeking to expand its overseas operations, Jet Airways, India's largest domestic carrier, is in talks with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS for inducting up to nine A330-300 planes into its fleet, of which four will be introduced this year.

Jet chairman Naresh Goyal and executive vice president Kiran Rao confirmed this to reporters in Beijing during the 68th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). But they said negotiations with the manufacturer were at an early stage and nothing was finalised yet.

Since the Indian civil aviation ministry ending Air India's monopoly on international traffic from the country, Jet Airways has sought permission to expand its international services to 518 flights a week by the winter of 2012 from 370 at present.

Slamming the government's taxation policies in the aviation sector, Goyal said the aviation industry would collapse if the swingeing taxes on fuel and other inputs are not reduced.

''No country in the world except India imposes a service tax on airlines,'' Goyal said.

''Indian domestic fares are almost 300 per cent higher as compared to others. Chinese airlines for example don't have fuel taxes. The fares in China are a third of those in India,'' Goyal said.