After being in the works for a long time, the government is “completely rewriting” the civil aviation policy to address concerns of the stakeholders.
The issue of easing norms for international operations by new domestic airlines would also be part of the policy, a senior official said.
While assuring that the new policy was in advanced stages, Civil Aviation Ministry today said the revised draft would soon be put up to invite comments from public and other stakeholders.
“We are completely rewriting the draft aviation policy… “We are working on a sensible policy,” Secretary Civil Aviation, R N Choubey said.
The policy, he said, would look at certain major areas like reducing cost of acquisition of aircraft and at airports.
The Ministry is also looking at the possible scrapping of 5/20 norms — whereby only those domestic carriers that have been operating for five years and have at least 20 aircraft are allowed to fly overseas.
Besides, the Ministry was working with states to bring down taxes on ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel), which is about 40-50 per cent of an airline’s operating cost.
“We are working to see that all states can bring down the rate of VAT to four per cent on ATF… moderate fuel prices are a key component to making the industry competitive,” Choubey noted.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the policy would be finalised shortly.
Raju and Choubey were speaking at a conference organised by industry body CII in partnership with the Ministry and IATA.
G Asok Kumar, a Joint Secretary at the Ministry, said thrust areas in the new policy would include setting up of low cost airports.
According to him, the country needs about 200 to 300 airports. At present, there were around 93 operational ones and scheduled carriers were operating to a little over 70 airports, he added.
Terming the erstwhile UPA government’s aviation policy as “opaque,” the government had brought out a fresh draft last November, recommending listing of state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) and chopper firm Pawan Hans on stock exchanges and steps to beef up Air India’s operations, hinting at its stake sale too.
Alongside, it has also put in process tweaking of 5/20 norms to provide a level-playing field. Since then, the government had been going back and forth on both the issues.
It had earlier planned to implement the proposed new aviation policy from January this year but had to defer it as it could not evolve a consensus among the stakeholders on the issue.