The Civil Aviation Ministry would ensure that the norms for no-fly list, to be finalised in the first week of July, balances the interests of all stakeholders, according to Union Minister Jayant Sinha. Noting that the ministry has received “very comprehensive and exhaustive feedback” from the stakeholders on the proposed rules to deal with unruly passengers, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation said the norms are being finalised. The ministry has already come out with draft rules for a ‘national no-fly list’ of unruly passengers for all domestic carriers, under which the flying ban could extend from at least three months to an indefinite period. “National no-fly norms are being finalised… we will be issuing it in the first week of July. We have received very comprehensive and exhaustive feedback from stakeholders. We will ensure that it balances out all stakeholders’ interests,” Sinha said here. The proposed issuance of the norms assumes significance amid a Lok Sabha member currently being barred by most major local carriers for unruly behavior.
TDP member J C Diwakar Reddy has been banned by major airlines from taking their flights following allegedly creating the ruckus at Vizag airport last week as he was denied boarding by IndiGo. Reddy belongs to the same party as that of Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju. This is the second incident involving a Lok Sabha member after Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Gaikwad was banned by carriers for some time after he had assaulted an Air India staffer a few months ago. As per the draft norms, the national no-fly list will include names of passengers identified as unruly after an inquiry by a committee constituted by a particular airline. A person identified as a threat by security agencies would also be included in this list. While the list is characterized as ‘national’ and would have data on disruptive passengers from all airlines, the ban recommended by the committee is not mandatory for all airlines to follow. The government had recommended three levels of unruly behaviours, each with a corresponding duration of flying ban. To queries related to foreign direct investment in the aviation sector, the minister said, “100 percent FDI is available for foreign participants… So we would welcome all those who participated in India’s aviation sector,” he noted.
Under current FDI regime, foreign entities can own up to 100 per cent in airport projects as well as in scheduled commercial carriers. However, foreign carriers are allowed to have only up to 49 per cent stake in local airlines. On Qatar Airways, Sinha said, “we have not yet received a formal proposal from Qatar and as and when we get it, we will certainly examine it”. The leading carrier had announced plans to set up an airline venture in India. About GST preparedness, the minister said the aviation sector is fully prepared for the July 1 roll out and there would be another round of meeting with the stakeholders to ensure that all systems are in place. “We people are working very closely with the Finance Ministry to make sure that everybody is ready for July 1 (roll out),” he said on the sidelines of an event organised by industry body IMC here. The ministry had sought deferment of the new tax regime citing that airlines are not yet ready with their systems to be in compliance with GST. Airlines, including Air India, had expressed concern over certain aspects of GST.