India's rule on new airlines may be modified soon

September 21
10:43 AM 2013

The cash strapped aviation sector in India celebrated an early Diwali with the investments from major airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Etihad and AirAsia. The sudden influx may force the hand of the Indian government to review a current rule requiring an Indian airline complete five years of operations and have at least 20 aircraft to be allowed to conduct international flights.

According to sources, "So far, low cost carrier GoAir has applied for relaxation of the norm as it is over five years old but does not have 20 aircraft in its fleet. While we were favorably inclined to lower the 20-aircraft rule and retain the five year bit, no final review has been taken so far. If the upcoming airlines alse seek a review of the policy, we may have a comprehensive relook."

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, who had entered into a partnership with Tata Sons for a budget airline expected to be operational within the year, already criticized the existing policy. In an interview in Delhi last July, Fernandes said, "These are bizarre rules... that you can't fly abroad before five years and 20 aircraft (fleet)... That rule makes no sense. It is a negative for the Indian airlines. I, as a one plane airline in Malaysia, can flyt to India. India is the only country which has such a rule."

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