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Older Domestic Carriers Urge PM Not To Do Away With 5/20 Rule

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Domestic carriers say any changes to 5/20 rule under proposed new civil aviation policy will distort level-playing field reports Ashish Sinha
With the Prime Minister Office expecting the final draft of the upcoming New Civil Aviation Policy to be finalised soon, older domestic airlines – IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and GoAir – under the helm of the Federation of Indian Airlines have approached the Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly stating that any changes made to the new policy, particularly to the 5/20 rule, may create an imbalance in the industry.
The proposed new civil aviation policy, among many changes, is expected to do away with the current mandatory requirement of Indian carriers owning a fleet at least 20 aircrafts and mandatory operations for five years before being eligible to fly abroad. Older aviation players have often alleged that doing away with the 5/20 rule will favour the new airlines like Vistara, Air Asia and others who have recently started their operations.
According to sources, the FIA has written a letter in which it said that it was disheartening to see that the Indian government might be planning to take steps that favour new entrants established and controlled by foreign airlines. The letter stated that it was because of the 5/20 rule and the route dispersal guidelines that Indian domestic aviation market has shown rapid growth. “…the removal of these rules will vitiate the level playing field that exists in Indian civil aviation, and tectonically shift it in favour of foreign airline controlled new entrants, who have shown, at best, peripheral interest in serving the Indian domestic market…at least one of the two new entrants has stopped its expansion in the domestic market beyond the mandatory requirement of five aircraft,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, official sources said that aviation secretary RN Choubey made a presentation to the Prime Minister on the draft policy which is expected to be put up for another public consultation next month.
Last week, the civil aviation Secretary had told reporters that the revised draft policy would be put up for public comments by September first week.
The first draft of the proposed new civil aviation policy was put up in November 2014. However, it was opposed by a number of domestic players. Choubey, who took charge in June this year, has re-drafted the policy.
The draft policy talks about rationalisation of airport costs, enhancing regional air connectivity, promoting air cargo, maintenance, repair and operations and helicopter operations and improving passenger facilitation among other area in the civil aviation sector.

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