No airline could lose permit for not paying staff

New Delhi: The controversy over former DGCA chief`s reported recommendation to suspend Kingfisher`s flying licence refused to die down with the government today saying that no airline could lose its permit for failing to pay its staff.

"There are no regulatory framework anywhere in the world allowing cancellation of the licence of airlines merely for failing to pay salaries to the staff," Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement. It said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been regularly monitoring the safety related issues of all airlines. "The Director General has also decided to quarterly monitor the safety records of airlines as per the industry norms," it said.

The statement came in the wake of Indigo Airlines promoter Rahul Bhatia`s charges that the government was tinkering with aviation policies for a "select few". Terming the allegations as "uncalled for and baseless", the Civil Aviation Ministry release said it was performing its functions in an objective, fair and transparent manner without discrimination against any airlines.

In response to Bhatia`s charges that the government was relentlessly trying to keep inefficient private operators in business, it said, "The Ministry also clarifies that the private operators were not being provided any financial support directly or indirectly but have been allowed to perform as per market forces."

The government, in reply to IndiGo Managing Director`s claim that his zero debt company was pitched against the airline (Air India) which was getting sop after sop, said, "It being owner of Air India it was well within its rights to promote the national carrier and prepare it for competition." Bhatia had also alleged favouritism in traffic route allocations, to which the government said it is clarified that all requests have been dealt with objectively in a fair manner so that every applicant airline gets its share as per its demand without prejudice.

He had said that airlines were allowed to fly to other countries on paper. To this, the ministry said, "Indigo has been allocated traffic rights based on their requests for international routes. They have been given 63 services per week which include 28 services to Dubai only in this summer schedule."