The Indian Parliamentary committee on civil aviation has come out strongly against the entry of foreign airlines into the domestic sector.

The committee is headed by Pramod Mahajan, the general secretary of India's main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata. It fears that Indian Airlines, the state-owned domestic carrier, could be seriously damaged by an influx of foreign airlines in joint ventures with local companies.

Although not mentioned, the immediate target of the committee is the $600 million Tata/Singapore Airlines project, which submitted its proposal to start a major domestic scheduled airline to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on 6 February 1995.

The proposals have been locked in the approval process for nearly three months with no public sign whether the Indian Government will subscribe to the orchestrated political opposition to the joint venture.

The committee observed that, the granting of equity participation to foreign collaborators will force existing private airlines into similar agreements.

Opposition to the venture, spearheaded by Mahajan, has branded the proposed Tata/SIA venture as "prejudicial to the national interest".

Source: Flight International