Sunday, March 18, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Kingfisher may get reprieve, but can Jet Airways be far behind?

Neelam Mathews
March 18, 2012

At the Hyderabad air show, even as the IATA DG Tony Tyler was unwilling to share what was on the agenda for discussion with airlines and government officials he was meeting in Delhi on March 16, he did say: “India is a concern on the viability…” 

Aerospace Diary could not confirm what discussions were held regarding Jet Airways and BSP. Recently, it was reported that IATA was asked to deposit Jet Airways' collections from its settlement systems directly to the government to recover pending tax dues. “The Indian tax authority had served IATA with a garnishment for the amounts owed to the tax authorities by Jet Airways," IATA spokesman Albert Tjoeng said in an email to Reuters. 

Speaking exclusively to Aerospace Diary, Tyler said: “We will obey the law and if legally (required), are obliged in future to do according to the law.”

Kingfisher was the topic of discussion as Tyler told a group of media persons when questioned on the pullout of the carrier from BSP and ICH: “Kingfisher Airlines is a member of IATA and we want to help them get reinstated to the system….We had to suspend Kingfisher from the travel agency clearing house. It was necessary to protect the whole system. It is the system we operate on behalf of hundreds of airlines.”

Speaking at the Hyderabad Air Show Tyler had got the pulse of Indian aviation right when he mentioned how predatory pricing as a result of regulatory constraints such as costs of high fuel and airports, was filling aircraft but not getting airliners yields. While the worldover, fuel accounts for 30-32% of total costs, for Indian carriers it is 45%, because taxes on fuel are so high, he said.

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