Govt likely to unveil new civil aviation policy next month

With long-drawn consultations now in final stages, the Civil Aviation Ministry expects to come out with the new civil aviation policy next month.

New Delhi: With long-drawn consultations now in final stages, the Civil Aviation Ministry expects to come out with the new civil aviation policy next month.

The inter-ministerial consultations on the revised draft policy are progressing and once these are completed, the ministry hopes to give the final touches and move the Cabinet for a nod.

"I hope the new civil aviation policy will be in place by May," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said today.

However, he did not provide specific details.

A senior ministry official said efforts are underway to ensure that the policy is ready at the earliest, possibly before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government completes its second anniversary on May 26 rpt May 26.

More than five months after coming out with the revised draft of aviation policy, the ministry had earlier this month sent it for inter-ministerial consultations.

The draft policy, unveiled in October 2015, seeks to bolster the country's aviation sector which has high growth potential.

It has suggested tax incentives for airlines, maintenance and repair works of aircraft, increasing FDI limit for foreign airlines, setting up of no-frills airports and providing viability gap funding for carriers to bolster regional air connectivity.

On April 1, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey had said a degree of "consensus" among various stakeholders on issues in the draft policy has "emerged".

The ministry has held extensive consultations with various stakeholders, including ministries, airlines, airport operators and ground-handling agencies.

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

However, differences over various issues including the 5/20 rule for domestic carriers have delayed finalisation of the policy.

The issue of 5/20 international flying norm has witnessed extensive debates with legacy carriers opposing any changes to the rule, while start-up airlines are against continuing with the requirement.

Under 5/20 rule, carriers having five years of operational experience and a fleet of at least 20 planes would be allowed to fly overseas.

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