Foreign flight checklist grows

Written by Bipin Chandran | Shauvik Ghosh | New Delhi, Dec 28 | Updated: Dec 29 2007, 06:29am hrs
It will soon be a lot tougher for domestic carriers to fly overseas, as the government wants to tighten the norms on opening international routes, by including new conditions.

Apart from the present norms of 20 aircraft and five years of operations in the domestic market, the airlines financial strength, infrastructure capabilities as well as the composition of its fleet will be taken into consideration before allowing an airline to fly overseas.

This has been done to ensure that an airline has the required financial and operational strength to operate in the highly competitive international market, said a source.

According to sources in the directorate general of civil aviation, in case an airline does not have the requisite parking and landing slots at destination airports abroad, it will not be given permission to fly overseas. The aviation regulator is of the view that this would prevent carriers from starting operations without proper preparation.

One of the hardest hit by such a move will be low-cost carrier Air Deccan, as it does not have airplanes with the range to operate long-haul international routes or parking and landing slots at overseas airports.

Air Deccan, which has already applied to the government to fly abroad, would probably have to reapply to the ministry after merging its infrastructure with Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines. Mallyas carrier has placed orders for long-haul aircraft as well as asked foreign airports for landing and parking slots.