Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), an association of four big and six smaller airlines, announced today (2nd Aug’09) withdrawal of ‘protest suspension of flights on 18th August’. Bowing under pressure from smaller airlines, which operates low cost carriers, the planned protest strike has to be withdrawn within a couple of days of announcement. FIA officials quoted public inconvenience and governments willingness to enter into dialogue as the reason for withdrawal of the proposed strike.
However, the real reason for withdrawal was non-cooperation from low cost carriers led by SpiceJet, which made a profit of Rs.26 crores in the first quarter of this year turning around from a loss of Rs.340 crores on a sales of Rs.1814 crores for the previous year. Earlier Paramount Airlines expressed its unwillingness to join the strike. Another small airline, MDLR that is not a member of FIA has also distanced itself from the strike. It is here worthwhile to note that low-cost carriers have a market share of 55% of total aviation business. Therefore any protest agenda may not be successful without involvement of these smaller low-cost carriers.
The protesting airlines made a blunder by selling tickets for the proposed strike of 18th August betraying thereby their own very cause. The publicly owned Air India , although a member of FIA, made its intentions clear not to join the strike. Taking advantage of this fluid situation, the government threatened action ultimately resulting in the withdrawal of the proposed strike.