Civil aviation ministry grounds Swamy’s charge against AirAsia permit

Apr 09 2014, 05:49 IST
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SummaryThe civil aviation ministry has written to the Election Commission countering BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's charge that granting air operator's permit

The civil aviation ministry has written to the Election Commission countering BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's charge that granting air operator's permit (AOP) to AirAsia at this stage would be violation of the model code of conduct, which is in force till the electoral process is on.

Rejecting Swamy's contention, the ministry said the application for AOP by AirAsia was submitted before the code of conduct came into force. Normally, new policy decisions that may favour a section of either industry, business or politics are not taken once the code of conduct comes into force.

However, any policy decision that has been taken prior to it can be administratively processed.

This is the line taken by the aviation ministry since the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approved the deal in March 2013.

“In the view of the comments furnished by the DGCA, the ministry is of the view that the application of Air Asia (India) for the grant of operator permit was submitted to DGCA on 18.10.2013 i.e. much before the commencement of model code of conduct and it is not a new application,” the letter said. “Issuance of the permit is not a new scheme and does not involve any sanctions or expenditure from the government,” it added.

“The issuance of air operator's permit is subject to the applicant company fulfilling all conditions and requirements for the same as per laid down rules and regulation and its outcome cannot be stated at this point of time since the process is still on. The decision shall be subject to the decision of the Delhi High court,” it added.

The Election Commission had on March 24 written to the civil aviation ministry seeking its view on Swamy's demand that AirAsia should not be issued the air operator's permit till the electoral code of conduct is in force.

The BJP leader had earlier said – in his complaint to the EC – that he had written to the civil aviation ministry on March 6, stating that it would be "wholly invalid and ultra vires the model code if AirAsia joint venture as well as the Tata-Singapore proposals for new airlines receive the airline operators permit after March 5".

In regards to the Tata-Singapore airline joint venture (Tata-SIA), the letter by the civil aviation ministry to EC said that “The ministry has received the security clearance of the company (Tata-Singapore airline) and its

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