Draft civil aviation policy in cabinet next month: secretary

The 5/20 rule bars a domestic airline from flying overseas unless it has completed five years of domestic operations and has a fleet of 20 aircraft.

FP Staff December 30, 2015 22:39:19 IST
Draft civil aviation policy in cabinet next month: secretary

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is on track to take the draft civil aviation policy to the Union cabinet in the third week of January, Rajiv Nayan Choubey, secretary, civil aviation said today. The policy has been in the works for months and among other things, should set out a roadmap for the contentious 5/20 rule.

Draft civil aviation policy in cabinet next month secretary

New aviation policy in the offing. Reuters

This rule has divided the airline industry right down the middle with just the two Tata airlines (Vistara and AirAsia India seeking it's abolition). Incumbents under the Federation of Indian Airlines have been lobbying for this rule to continue.

The 5/20 rule bars a domestic airline from flying overseas unless it has completed five years of domestic operations and has a fleet of 20 aircraft.

The FIA was scheduled to meet Choubey today but postponed the meeting to next month. Promoters of domestic airlines were away which means their last ditch efforts on 5/20 will now have to wait.

The ministry plans to send the cabinet note on the draft policy to various ministries for their final comments in early January and after giving the various ministries two weeks, and incorporating any changes mentioned by them, the Civil Aviation Ministry plans to send the draft note to the cabinet in the third week of January.

When asked whether the draft policy will be sent to cabinet without taking into consideration the opinion of airline owners who have been in the business for over a decade, secretary Choubey merely said that the government will consider every point of view which is put before it.

Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the civil aviation minister, ducked the same question, saying that there is no time line for sending the draft civil aviation policy to the Cabinet A final decision on the 5/20 issue will be taken by the Union Cabinet when it takes up the draft civil aviation policy for discussion.

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The development assumes significance in view of the fact that new player AirAsia India has demanded scrapping the 5/20 norm wherein another startup airline Vistara deferred its plans to induct more planes in its fleet, after the government failed to take a decision on the issue last year.

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