MUMBAI: Private domestic airlines must “manage their own affairs” in the country’s deregulated aviation industry, according to aviation minister Suresh Prabhu.
Prabhu, who is also the commerce minister, said Asia’s third-largest economy is hopeful of receiving $100 billion in foreign direct investment in the next two years.
“It’s the responsibility of every private company to manage their affairs,”
Prabhu said at CII’s Partnership Summit late on Saturday, when asked if the government plans to help loss-making airlines, especially Jet Airways, the No. 2 carrier by market share. “Companies have boards of directors which are obliged to make sure it’s run as shareholders want it to run,” he added.
Prabhu’s remarks come even as Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal has been making the rounds of the topmost government offices seeking assistance and government intervention to save his airline.
Jet, hit by a severe cash crunch, high debt and losses, has defaulted on and delayed loan repayments, plane lease rentals, and employee salaries. Last week, Goyal visited topmost bureaucrats in the government requesting assistance and time from its lenders, mostly state-run, airport operators and government-owned oil marketing companies which sell it jet fuel.
It isn’t clear whether the government will agree to any of Goyal’s requests.
On FDI, Prabhu said the government is not just targeting countries and sectors but also global companies with “investible surplus” to invest in India. Prabhu said the government is identifying states and sectors, including Maharashtra, to revive foreign investment. The minister also said the government, which has helped improve the overall ease of doing business in India, will now aim to bring that ease into district-level administration.
He said the government will shortly announce an air cargo policy to help better transportation of perishables.