Logistics

Air India changes stance on 5/20 rule

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 19, 2018

The Civil Aviation Ministry plans to approach the Union Cabinet in mid-February with a new civil aviation policy which is likely to include its views on the 5/20 rule





The Centre must look at what is in the best interest of the country when it takes a decision on whether to keep the 5/20 rule or remove it from the book.

This advice comes from Air India and is being viewed as a radical change from the state-owned airline’s earlier stance when it had opposed any move to remove the 5/20 rule. Sources said that the views of the airline have been conveyed “verbally and not in writing” to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The 5/20 rule stipulates that a domestic airline must have a fleet of 20 aircraft and must have completed five years of domestic operations before it becomes eligible to start flights abroad. The rule has seen a vertical spilt among Indian carriers. New entrants such as AirAsia India and Vistara are pressing for the removal of the 5/20 rule while older players such as IndiGo have called for its retention.

On December 30 last year, the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) called for a postponement of a meeting between airlines and the Civil Aviation Secretary “for another opportunity on any date after January 6, 2016 for the top management of four of the largest airlines in the country to present their views in person.” The FIA includes Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir, among others.

Sources indicated that the promoters of IndiGo and Jet Airways were abroad and hence a postponement of the meeting was sought. No extension was given and the promoters have been unable to meet with senior Government officials to put across their views on various issues, including the 5/20 rule. The Civil Aviation Ministry plans to approach the Union Cabinet in mid-February with a new civil aviation policy which is likely to include its views on the 5/20 rule.

Published on January 17, 2016

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