If India does away with the 5/20 rule then it will bring its aviation rules in line with those followed in the US, Canada, Australia and the UAE.

These countries do not lay down any eligibility criteria in terms of the number of years of continued domestic operations or the number of aircraft for their carriers to start international operations, a senior government official said.

In comparison, the European Aviation Safety Agency lays down that an airline must have one or two aircraft at its disposal through either ownership or dry lease.

The background In December 2004, the Union Cabinet under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had approved the rule which stipulated that an Indian domestic airline must have a fleet of at least 20 aircraft and have flown in domestic skies for at least five years before becoming eligible to operate international flights. This came to be known as the 5/20 rule.

The Modi government as part of the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 is planning to do away with the 5/20 rule.

The policy was discussed at a meeting of senior Cabinet Ministers here on Thursday and it is expected to be sent to the Union Cabinet soon.

Since the 5/20 rule was taken by the Cabinet any change in the rule will also have to be made by it.

Minister for change Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has been seeking a change in policy.

Soon after he took charge of the Aviation Ministry in June 2014, he had told BusinessLine , “Regulation has to have some purpose. Can someone enlighten me where in the world there are such rules? Policy should be in the interest of the country and not be used to tie the hands and feet of people”.