Airline norms to fly abroad needs recast: Minister

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday said the existing norms for Indian carriers to fly abroad needed to be recast, as it was not only dated but also restricting the potential of Indian airline industry.

Currently, the norms prescribe that only those carriers that have been in operation for five years and have a fleet of 20 aircraft can fly abroad.
“Personally, I would like to get rid of the 5/20 policy. It is outdated, like a dinosaur, and I think it should go,” Raju said at a tourism event here, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
“Unfortunately it is a cabinet decision, collectively taken on the policy,” he said about the deision that was taken over a decade ago. “The reasoning that the cabinet gave for this policy was rather funny,” he said, but did not elaborate any further.
Among the seven main scheduled airlines in the country, only four meet the requirements — Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo. Three others others are are ineligible. Vistara and Air Asia started operations under two years ago.
Several aviation research institutions such as the Centre for Asia pacific Aviation have described the 5/20 rule as being damaging, discriminatory and anti-competition, besides preventing carriers from optimal fleet utilisation and expansion.
Last month, a senior official in the civil aviation ministry had told IANS that a new system had been proposed, in place of the 5/20 compliance rule, that would require airlines to accrue domestic flying credits by servicing Tier-I, Tier-II and III cities.
An airline under the new system with a minimum of 200 crore such credits in one year’s time with at least five aircraft in its fleet would then become eligible. The proposal also called for domestic carriers to such credits from other airlines.