INDIA GOVT MAY LIFT 5-YR RULE FOR DOMESTIC AIRLINE TO FLY ABROAD

12 Jul 2013 11:19

NEW DELHI, July 12 (Bernama) -â€" AirAsia India may not have to wait for five years to fly international routes if the news that the Indian government is looking at bending this requirement materialises.

During his recent visit, AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes called the rule as bizarre.

"With one aircraft, I can fly to India (from Malaysia), but the requirement in India is 20 aircraft. That’s bizarre,” he had said.

Fernandes has expressed the hope to bring India closer to Southeast Asia with AirAsia's operations here.

Firstpost.com reported quoting a senior official in the Civil Aviation Ministry as confirming that the government was looking at relaxing the 5/20 rule for domestic airlines to fly abroad.

In India, the 5/20 rule makes it mandatory for any domestic airline to have a fleet size of at least 20 aircraft and a record of five years of domestic operations before it can be allowed to fly overseas.

The report also said AirAsia may be the intended beneficiary of any change in the 5/20 rule because Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Jet Airways have crossed the threshold and are flying overseas.

"We are looking to revoke the 5/20 rule. We are looking at reducing the number of aircraft required as well as the number of years of domestic flying,” the unnamed ministry official was quoted as saying.

AirAsia India, which is a 49:30:21 joint venture with Tata Group and Telestra Tradeplace Pvt Ltd is scheduled to take off in October.

It plans to start with three aircraft and add 10 annually.

-- BERNAMA SM SM TOM