Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific today expressed concern over “very high” airport charges in India and asked the government to reduce the charges.
“You want it (India) to be a hub for aviation sector. But the airport charges are very high compared to the airport charges in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Dubai...,” Tom Wright, General Manager — South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Cathay Pacific said here.
“Charges are high in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai airports. It is expensive to operate. We are concerned. We all (airline companies) urge the Government to reduce the charges,” he said.
Cathay Pacific currently operates in three cities and through its subsidiary ‘Dragon Air’ operates in two cities.
Noting that the potential was immense in the Indian aviation industry, he said in the long run China and India would become “key markets” for Cathay Pacific.
“Potential is enormous. That is why we are expanding. We were operating eight passenger flights a week. Now we operate 48 passenger flights. In long term, I always think, why we cannot connect 19 destinations in India like China”, he said.
Cathay Pacific connects 19 destinations across China.
“India is one of the fastest growing economies for Cathay Pacific. In the long run, India and China are going to be key markets for Cathay Pacific”, he said.
Observing that Indian aviation industry was under “turbulent” times due to uncertain global market conditions, he said, “in the near future, we will see more vibrant Indian aviation market”.
To a query, he said the airliner has no plans to invest in any Indian carrier.
Tom Wright and senior officials were here to introduce new business class, premium economy cabins and economy class on its Airbus 330—300 flights connecting Chennai and Hong Kong.
To be effective from January 1, passengers flying to Hong Kong may opt for business class at Rs 86,000, new premium economy class at Rs 40,000 and Rs 35,000 for economy class.