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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mallya bullish on aviation industry growth prospects

UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya said on Tuesday that he was bullish about the growth prospects of the Indian aviation industry.

Speaking at the launch of the non-stop flight service from Bangalore to London, he pointed out that several airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa, have been seeking permission to increase frequency of flights to the country.

He noted that Indian Airlines represented just 30 per cent of all internationalflights, and there was ample opportunity to grow.

Mallya also gave a thumbsup to the much-maligned Bangalore International Airport.

‘’The roads to the airport are quite impressive. It takes me only 45 minutes from the heart of the city to the airport,’’ he added.

However, he noted that the airport could have been slightly larger.

The UB Chairman also urged the State government to lower its sales tax on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF). He said: ‘’Th e lowering of sales tax will stimulate air traffic growth to BIAL. The government will make up the lost revenue through increased sales.’’ On User Development Fee(UDF),Mallya said that he was opposed to any move whereby airlines will charge customers UDF on behalf of the airport. Mallya announced that Kingfisher Airlines will launch its non-stop flight from Bangalore to London from Wednesday. The first flight has already been booked to nearly 70 per cent capacity, he said.

The UB Chairman also announced that future plans include the launch of Bangalore- San Francisco, Bombay- Singapore and Bombay-Dubai flights.

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