The civil aviation policy will be a turning point for the sector in attracting more players and will help take flying to the masses, stakeholders and experts today said as they welcomed scrapping of the 5/20 international flying norms for local airlines.
“Though a 0/0 or 0/10 would have been more than welcome, the amendments that have been made to the policy are encouraging,” AirAsia India CEO Amar Abrol said referring to the scrapping of 5/20 rule which also benefits the carrier. The policy gives the airline a clear direction to ramp up our operations in India and grow our business in the domestic segment before we scale our operations to fly international,” he said. He also said the airline would focus aggressively in India and expand the fleet size.
Another startup carrier Vistara also said it would have preferred a complete abolition of the 5/20 norm to ensure that Indian aviation achieves its full potential. “It is very encouraging to see that the government has established a policy which promotes the overall growth of the industry. We would have preferred, of course, that the 5/20 rule be completely abolished to ensure that Indian aviation achieves its full potential,” Vistara Chief Executive Officer Phee Teik Yeoh said.
He also said that as a domestic carrier Vistara was committed to its expansion plans in the country and now looking forward to providing connectivity to travellers to/from India. Industry body Assocham said the policy is a turning point for the country’s aviation sector as it frees the operators from the shackles of 5/20 rule for flying overseas. Under this norm, only those domestic carriers having at least five years of operational experience and a minimum fleet of 20 planes were allowed to fly overseas.
Assocham also said that capping of airfare would propel the regional connectivity but it should be ensured the operators are not made to suffer losses on short haul routes.The national civil aviation policy would help take flying to the masses through a slew of policy initiatives and fiscal and monetary support, Amber Dubey, Partner and Head, Aerospace and Defence, KPMG in India said.
“The highly illogical and anti-competition 5/20 rule has been replaced with 0/20, which effectively translates to 3/20 as it will take at least 3-4 years to have a 20 aircraft fleet,” he noted. Dubey, however, said the policy is unfortunately silent on issues like formation of an independent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), privatisation of Air India and listing of AAI.