Ajit Singh meets PM, discusses woes of airlines

New Delhi: With Kingfisher Airlines struggling to stay afloat and others facing a tough time, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is understood to have discussed the problems facing the industry.

However, the Minister refused to give any details about his meeting with the Prime Minister, saying "we discussed many issues". Earlier, he said the banks cannot be asked to continue to give loans but "strict action" would be taken if the airlines compromise on safety due to the cash crunch.

However, Singh said the present financial crisis facing the airline industry was "a passing phase" but strikes by different sections of employees, including pilots, disrupted the entire business. "This situation cannot be allowed to be continued".

He said the high incidence of taxation on jet fuel were "not within the control of the airlines" and some states were taking steps to reduce sales taxes.

Asked about the incident in Mumbai in which an Air India aircraft`s tail got scraped on the tarmac when it was lifting for a `go-around`, the Minister said he has asked for a report from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. "There are norms and procedures which have to be followed," he said.