Government has not taken a decision on 5/20 norm, which requires an Indian carrier to have minimum 5 years of domestic flying and at least 20 planes for going overseas, Parliament was informed.
“No such decision has been taken,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply to a Member’s question.
Sharma was responding to NCP Member of Parliament Majeed Memon’s question whether in the proposed new civil aviation policy, the Government is likely to favour removal of 5/20 rule to allow some private airlines to fly on international routes.
As of now three private carriers—Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo—have international operations besides the state-run Air India.
GoAir, which is into domestic operations since 2005, is still not qualified for flying overseas as the airline is one short of required number of aircraft (20) in the fleet.
Besides, two Tata Sons invested airlines — AirAsia India and Vistara—which started operations only in June 2014 and January 2015 , respectively and have only six and nine aircraft in their respective fleet, also can’t fly overseas under the 5/20 norm.
Significantly, last week Sharma had reportedly said that the Government had firmed up three to four options on the 5/20 rule.
“5/20 is going. In place of that, we will have something like 0/10 or 0/20 or 1/10 or 2/20. One of these options will be chosen very shortly. We are very close to the final decision,” Sharma had said.
Sharma’s comments had come after chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata lashed out publicly last month against the airlines favouring continuation of the rule, alleging that the “incumbent airlines (were) lobbying for protection and preferential treatment for themselves against the new airlines.”
The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which wants a status quo on the rule on the existing regulations, have in turn accused Ratan Tata and two airlines of acting in “self interest” and not in “national interest.”
Significantly, the proposal to do away with the 5/20 norm was mooted by the erstwhile UPA government around the time Tata Group announced its re-entry in the domestic airlines industry in 2013.