Air India Leaves Private Airlines Lobby As NDA Finds It apos;unethical apos;

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Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju wanted Air India to pull out of the Federation of Indian Airlines
The country's flagship carrier Air India (AI) has pulled out of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which comprises domestic carriers, after eight years.

The moves comes as the new government found it unethical for the Maharaja to be part of a private airline lobby. 
A senior civil aviation ministry official said: "FIA has largely benefited private carriers as the organisation got credibility by including Air India. However, forcing Air India to join FIA has enabled private airlines to take advantage in getting prime time slots and lucrative routes at the cost of the state carrier." 
Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju wanted AI to pull out FIA, the official added. 
AI chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan tried to downplay the matter. 
"The government does not guide the airline in this matter. It is purely a decision of the airline. I feel I can always directly talk to the government. FIA is not optimally useful," he told Mail Today. 
Nandan recently wrote to FIA associate director Ujjwal Dey informing him of AI's decision to withdraw from the body with immediate effect. 
While Nandan refused to comment why AI did not pull out from FIA during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, top government officials said that some civil aviation ministers during the UPA rule were seen to be very close to private carriers.
According to an AI official, the carrier had huge differences with FIA on some issue or the other. 
"Many decisions taken by FIA were not actually in the interest of Air India, but we had to support them only because some vested interests were supporting the private carriers," the official said. 
According to sources, private carriers are unhappy at AI leaving the group. 
The FIA was constituted in 2006 to push for reforms as many private carriers like IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir were granted licenses.

Besides these airlines, Jet Airways is also a member.