In a big push to its reform agenda, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government approved the country’s first National Civil Aviation Policy for increasing air connectivity, allowing new domestic airlines to fly abroad quickly and opening up the skies for European and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries.
New airlines, such as Vistara and AirAsia, will no longer have to wait for five years before starting operations on international routes. Start-up airlines can now fly abroad after operating at least 20 planes or 20 per cent of their total flying capacity, whichever is higher, on domestic routes.
According to a 2004 norm, which is also known as the ‘5/20 rule’, a domestic airline is allowed to go international only after flying for five years to domestic destinations and operating at least 20 aircraft.
“Connecting the unconnected and serving the un-served is the motto of the civil aviation policy. The questionable legacy of the ‘5/20 rule’ has been thrown into the dustbin today,” Information Technology and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here after the Cabinet meeting.