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Travel advisory hurting India's aviation industry, says Indian minister


India's Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel. -- File photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): With several countries issuing travel advisory to their citizens asking them to avoid India following the recent Mumbai terror attacks, the Civil Aviation ministry has sought the intervention of External Affairs ministry (MEA) to save the airline business from any adverse effect.

 

Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel has urged the MEA to establish contacts with various governments, particularly those in the west, as passenger flow from these countries has almost dried up after the Mumbai mayhem.

 

Several countries including Germany, Australia and New Zealand had issued advisories asking its citizens to re-consider their travel plans for India. The threat perception about India was enhanced after terrorists targeted Mumbai on November 26, killing over 180 people, which included 20 foreigners.

 

The western tourists were the prime target when the terrorists held the two luxury hotels under siege for around 60 hours.
Eyewitnesses who escaped the attack claimed that the gunmen were looking for western tourists, especially those from the US and Britain. The two countries have been involved in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US is also a staunch ally of Israel and was in favour of containing military abilities of Iran.

 

The Indian aviation industry is one of the first casualties of this travel embargo. The industry was already reeling under recession and the Mumbai attacks made the situation worse. The airlines were making losses and any drop in the flow of international passengers would be a deadly blow.

 

The Mumbai attacks have come at a time when the travel season was at its peak. "These are the best months to visit India," said an official expressing frustration at the situation.

 

The usually large flow of Non-Resident Indians during this season has reduced. The Civil Aviation ministry hopes that by the intervention of foreign office, the governments can be persuaded to revise their travel advisories.


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