India to scrap airline five-year rule – minister

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Photo by Tappasan Phurisamrit
Photo by Tappasan Phurisamrit

India has confirmed plans to scrap the rule requiring airlines to operate five years of domestic flights before they are permitted to serve international routes.

Local news service Live Mint reported India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh, as saying this week that the unpopular regulation will be removed in November, ahead of the launch of AirAsia India.

The so called ‘5-20’ rule forced Indian-registered airlines to operate domestically for five years, and have a fleet of at least 20 aircraft, before they could start flying international routes from the country.

“I personally believe there is no logic in this rule and we are preparing a cabinet note to scrap this rule,” Singh was quoted saying. “We are looking at making this happen by end-November. There could be some technical consultations that the ministry requires to scrap this rule, but we are moving ahead with this decision,” he added.

The decision will be a relief to AirAsia, which is planning to launch a new Chennai-based low-cost carrier, and Singapore Airlines, which recently confirmed that it would create a new full-service airline based in Delhi. Both ventures are being backed by powerful Indian conglomerate, Tata.

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