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`New airline alliance not opposed to Jet-Sahara deal'

Our Bureau


Mr Vijay Mallya

Bangalore , Jan. 24

THE Kingfisher Air Chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya, has criticised the Air Deccan Managing Director, Capt G.R. Gopinath, for stating that the objective behind forming a new alliance of domestic airlines was to oppose the monopoly of Jet Airways.

In a statement, Mr Mallya said that he was surprised at Capt Gopinath's remarks that the alliance was formed only to take on the Jet/Sahara monopoly. "It is regrettable that Capt Gopinath has chosen to make insinuations and contradict a memorandum signed by himself which is self-explanatory." Reacting to Mr Mallya's statement, Capt Gopinath told Business Line that he was not opposed to such an alliance, but wanted a broader role for such an alliance.

"I want a Nasscom kind of body consisting of all the airlines and the stakeholders like Airports Authority of India," he said.

He said that the presence of such a body would help the industry immensely. Mr Mallya said four airlines, including Kingfisher Air, Air Deccan, Go Air and IndiGo, met at his residence on January 17 to discuss infrastructure bottlenecks, equal opportunities for all airlines and synergy benefits through sharing the benefits of a common fleet.

"Unfortunately, this has been construed as a union aimed at opposing the Jet/Sahara deal, which is completely untrue," he said.

As per the minutes of the meeting signed by representatives of all the four airlines, it was decided to form an alliance called Indian Airline Operators' Association (IAOA).

Its aim was to collectively represent to the government for allotment of overnight parking slots and prime-time departure slots in a transparent manner and on an equitable basis. It also sought to avoid conflicting departure slots among airlines, sharing ground support equipment and even sharing excess ASKMs among the airlines. The signatories to the minutes of the meeting were Mr Mallya, Capt Gopinath, Mr Jeh Wadia of Go Air and Mr Rahul Bhatia of IndiGo.

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