Aviation policy likely to be cleared by Cabinet this month

The draft policy was unveiled in October last year and since then Government has held extensive consultations with various stakeholders including ministries, airlines,airport operators, ground handling agencies, among others during this period.

PTI| Last Updated: Apr 01, 2016, 15:54 PM IST

New Delhi: A degree of "consensus" among various stakeholders on issues in draft civil aviation policy including norms for international flying by domestic airlines has "emerged" and it is likely to be approved by the Cabinet this month, a top official said on Friday.

"(As far as) 5/20 and other issues raised in the draft civil aviation policy (are concerned), a degree of consensus has already emerged," Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey told reporters on the sidelines of the 29th anniversary of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

Under the '5/20 rule' only those airlines having at least five years of domestic flying experience and a minimum of 20 aircraft are allowed to fly overseas.

BCAS is country's nodal aviation security agency.

Choubey said that his ministry will be taking the matter to the Cabinet this month itself, adding, "the (new aviation) policy, which will also clear the position on 5/20, will be approved this month."

The draft policy was unveiled in October last year and since then Government has held extensive consultations with various stakeholders including ministries, airlines,airport operators, ground handling agencies, among others during this period.

"We have already done a couple of rounds of inter ministerial consultations. We will now be in a position to take the matter to the Cabinet this month," he said.

The policy was expected to be finalised in the previous financial year as certain proposals were to be implemented from April 1, 2016.

While startup carriers Vistara and Air Asia India, where Tatas is a stakeholder, are demanding that the 5/20 rule be done away with, the grouping of four private Indian carriers comprising IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and GoAir wants the rule to continue.

The proposed policy seeks to give a boost the Indian aviation sector, which has high growth potential, and strengthen regional connectivity.

It has suggested tax incentives for airlines, maintenance and repair works of aircraft besides mooting 2 per cent levy on all air tickets to fund regional connectivity scheme.

There are other significant proposals such as increasing FDI limit for foreign airlines, setting up of no-frills airports and providing viability gap funding for airlines to bolster regional air connectivity as well.