Indian airlines unhappy about overseas flight rule changes

A group of Indian airlines has expressed its opposition to planned changes to the rules governing when airlines can launch international flights.

The Economic Times reports that the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which counts Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo among its members, said it does not support the proposed changes, which would allow new market entrants like Vistara and AirAsia India to launch international services more quickly.

IndiGo is a member of the FIA
IndiGo is a member of the FIA

At present, Indian airlines have to operate domestic routes for five years, and have a fleet size of at least 20 aircraft, before they can apply to launch international services.

In a letter to India’s Aviation Ministry, the FIA said the rule changes are unfair on the country’s well-established carriers.

“The proposed policy… dilutes the commitment already demonstrated by incumbent carriers towards national interest, in their having built up extensive domestic networks,” the letter said, as reported by the Economic Times.

The FIA added that the new policy “risks creating a disruptive impact on investments made towards fleet orders and commercial development”.

The FDI previously lobbied the Indian government not to allow the formation of Vistara and AirAsia India, on the grounds that they violated the rules governing foreign investment in Indian carriers. These rules were changed to enable overseas investment, but the FIA claims foreign investment should have only be permitted in existing airlines, not to create new start-ups.

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