• Govt willing to handhold airlines in trouble: Minister

    The government is willing to “handhold” the Bengaluru-based Air Pegasus to restart operations, but will not interfere in the financial troubles that the airline is facing.

    This is the message that Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Civil Aviation Minister, conveyed to Shyson Thomas, Managing Director, Pegasus, whom he met at the Ministry of Civil Aviation here on Wednesday.

    “We need to have airlines flying, not on the ground. We want airlines to survive, (but) we cannot take the liabilities and generate other problems. We have asked him to interact with the Secretary (Civil Aviation). Then we will see how we can be of help,” the Minister told BusinessLine soon after his meeting with Thomas.

    The Bengaluru-based airline suspended operations two weeks back after the leasing companies decided to take backthe aircraft given to Air Pegasus for non-payment of lease charges.

    SpiceJet situation

    Comparing the situation that Air Pegasus is facing with the woes of SpiceJet, the Minister pointed out that both the airlines suffered from the problem that their books were in a bad shape.

    “When your books are bad the Government can help you up to a particular level. Beyond that we can’t.

    “He will have to get his act going. He does not have very big financial liabilities,” the Minister added talking about Air Pegasus..

    Talk to lessors

    Drawing parallels with the SpiceJet situation, Raju added that even when SpiceJet had this problem it had to talk to the lessors with the Ministry stepping in only after SpiceJet had cleared its current dues and allowed it to clear its past dues in instalments. “Their finances they have to look after.

    “But in whatever way we can handhold we will try and hand hold,” the Minister added.

    Speaking with newspersons Thomas accepted that the airline had fallen behind in clearing its dues but claimed that things would soon settle down.

    “We have suggested a solution where we pay some part of the amount which is outstanding immediately and the remaining amount is paid in instalments.

    “The lessors have not accepted it yet.

    “We still expect to see the airline back in the sky in about a week,” he added. Malcom Brown Womens Jersey

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