FIA wants “illegal“ AirAsia India stopped on the tarmac

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) has asked the government to advise aviation regulator DGCA not to allow AirAsia India launch its operations, which, according to the airlines body, is ''illegal'' and ''fraudulent''.

FIA has claimed that the approvals granted to AirAsia India were "illegal", and wanted the Narendra Modi government to stop the new no-frills airline from operationalising its Rs990 airfare plan which is to start with its maiden flight on Bangalore-Goa route on 12 June.

"It is our request that the government advise the DGCA not to permit AirAsia India to proceed to fly, that too with merely one aircraft with the sole intent of making the decision (to let them fly) a fait accompli and difficult for the government to review," FIA, said in a letter to finance minister Arun Jaitley.

The letter, also marked to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, was sent on Saturday when the airline announced the launch of its maiden flight from Bangalore to Goa on 12 June offering a low fare of just Rs990, including taxes.

According to FIA, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation cleared AirAsia India's flight schedule in a haste, without looking into the merits of the airlines operational plan, and with the sole intention of allowing the new airline to start operations in the country.

"It is obvious that the actions taken by the last government and more particularly by the DGCA have been to preempt a review of this matter by the new government and to proceed with indecent haste," the letter signed by FIA associate director Ujjwal Dey said.

"While foreign investment needs to be encouraged, the same cannot be at the cost of the domestic industry, which is rightly the position of this government as in the case of FDI in retail," it said.

The FIA also termed the clearances granted to the airline by the finance ministry and the Foreign Investment Promotion Board ''illegal'' and called the grant of Air Operator's Permit or the flying licence to it "fraudulent".

Also, FIA pointed out that FDI by foreign airlines in domestic carriers was meant for existing carriers and not for new ones.