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Govt back to drawing board on int’l ops of domestic carriers


New Delhi: Government is back to the drawing board on the issue of easing norms for international operations by domestic airlines, with the Civil Aviation Ministry deciding to put the proposed norms in public domain for consultations.

The government would also convene a meeting of chief executives of airlines to elicit their views on the draft aviation policy before putting it in place, Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey told reporters today.

The proposed norms would be put in public domain for consultation by the month end, he said.

He added that the Civil Aviation Ministry would also invite comments from the airlines on the scrapping of 5/20 rule, a proposal which is being opposed by the airlines umbrella organisation Federation of India Airlines (FIA).

FIA comprises Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir.

Terming the erstwhile UPA’s aviation policy as “opaque,” the government had brought out a fresh draft last November, recommending listing of state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) and chopper firm Pawan Hans on stock exchanges and steps to beef up Air India operations, hinting at its stake sale too.

Alongside, it has also put in process tweaking of 5/20 norms to provide a level-playing field.

The existing rules allow a domestic airline to fly abroad only if it has completed five years of domestic operations and a fleet of 20 aircraft.

Since then the government is going back and forth on both the issues.

It had earlier planned to implement the proposed new aviation policy from January this year but had to defer it as it could not evolve a consensus among the stakeholders on the issue.

The Ministry has proposed a complicated formula for replacing 5/20, in which domestic flying credits would still be needed for new airlines to fly abroad.

As per the proposed norms, a new airline would be eligible to apply for international operations once it has operated on domestic routes and deployed capacity equivalent to at least 200 domestic flying credits (DFCs).

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