The Board of Airlines Representatives in India (BALR) has sought a 30 per cent reduction in aeronautical charges for the next six months as a temporary relief to the industry, which is facing the brunt of "recessionary situation," due to the Covid-19 pandemic.In a representation to Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola last week, the foreign airlines body said that the new coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak is adversely impacting the airline industry, and it is under tremendous pressure to survive this storm. Aeronautical charges include those related to route and terminal navigation services. On Monday, Air India Pilot Unions too had urged the government to provide the national carrier financial assistance on similar grounds.
"The current situation is causing a lot of concern due to flight cancellations and travel restrictions imposed by various countries, and it is becoming difficult to sustain flight operations, thereby affecting the load factors of all airlines," the body said. Moreover, the passenger numbers have declined considerably, which has badly affected the cash flow of the airlines, it said.
"We would, therefore, like to appeal to your office to offer relief measures to the airlines, by means of 30 per cent reduction in aeronautical charges for a period of six months," the airlines representatives said. These charges, if reviewed onwards, will assist the airlines in continuing the existing operations at lower seat tractors, it added.
"The DGCA has, in fact, appealed to the airlines to refund to passengers, without deducting cancellation charges. The airlines are in the brunt of a recessionary situation with decrease private demand," the representation added.
BALR represents 36 international airlines, including Air France-KLM, AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air, Kuwait Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Air India as well as Vistara from India.