The government has decided to rework the proposals outlined in the draft aviation policy to achieve the twin objective of reducing the airline operation costs and providing greater accessibility to the travelling public. The stated objective of the policy, a senior government official said, would be to ensure that every middle class family can travel by flight at least once every year.
G Asok Kumar, joint secretary in the ministry of civil aviation said, “The Civil Aviation Policy is going to talk about ensuring at least one flight per year for a middle class family in India.” He declined to elaborate on the details of the proposal but said extensive deliberations are on to facilitate the same.
The civil aviation ministry, under the new secretary R N Choubey, is rewriting the Civil Aviation Policy that is going to be put for discussions by the end of this month. The new aviation policy, Kumar said, will additionally look at ways to incentivise general aviation sector and small aircraft operators to ensure enhanced air connectivity. The basic framework of the policy is likely to be decided on Wednesday. Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said that the government is looking at various ways in the new policy to reduce cost of operations for airlines, including ways to order for aircraft in bulk for all Indian carriers together. “We are thinking on these lines and a final decision will come only after consultations,” Choubey said.
The aviation policy will also address objections raised by various airlines about the ‘5/20’ (airlines are required to have 20 aircraft and five years of operational experience to commence international operations) norm.
IATA CEO Tony Tyler also opposed the 5/20 norm. “The problem with such regulations is that by creating distortions to the free market, they influence long-term decisions made by airlines. And so, once they are imposed they become very difficult to change as circumstances evolve, because doing so can’t help being unfair to some or other key industry player,” Tyler said.
“I can assure you that something is being done to remove 5/20 and will be part of the aviation policy but as far as RDG is going to stay,” said Choubey. Sources in the know said that the 5/20 clause may not be removed entirely as a large number of carriers are opposing its removal.
Even as measures are being mulled to facilitate the ease of doing business in India, the country’s aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, however, turned down a suggestion of some airlines to hand over compliance of regulations to individual carriers.