Govt working to make tourism affordable, accessible: Ashok Gajapathi Raju

Founded in 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as member countries.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published:September 22, 2016 7:34 pm
Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Raju, Civil Aviation ministry, Civil Aviation minister  Ashok Gajapathi Raju, SAARC, SAARC countries, India news Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju. (Source: PTI Photo)

The government has taken a number of initiatives, including the proposed open sky policy with SAARC countries, in order to make tourism affordable and accessible for international fliers, Union Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Thursday.

Speaking at the three-day Incredible India Tourism Investors Summit, which began on Wednesday, Raju said the new civil aviation policy takes an integrated approach to ensure air connectivity across regions and states.

“The government has taken a number of initiatives to make tourism affordable and accessible to international travellers,” he said, adding, “We are working towards an open sky policy with SAARC.”

To boost the aviation sector, which has a high growth potential, the government has come out with the new civil aviation policy that seeks to revive unserved and under-served airports as well as improve regional air connectivity and make flying affordable for the common man.

Besides, as per the policy, the government would enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with SAARC nations as well as countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5,000 km radius from New Delhi.

Founded in 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as member countries.

Raju said the government has permitted 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) to attract greenfield and brownfield investment in airports, and enhanced FDI in airlines.

“The 5:20 rule has been scrapped and base fares are now capped for flights of one hour duration,” he said, adding the government is also addressing issues related to enhancing skill development and increasing the domestic maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities.

The 5:20 rule mandated an airline to have five years of domestic flying experience and a fleet of 20 aircraft before venturing on foreign routes.