An inter-ministerial panel is understood to have recommended replacing 5/20 international flying norms for domestic carriers, amid bitter tussle between old and new airlines over continuing with the regulation.
The committee, chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, today met for the second time and discussed various aspects of the proposed new civil aviation policy.
While there has been no official word, sources said the panel is believed to have pitched for scrapping the 5/20 norm and replace it with some other requirements.
The meeting was also attended by various senior ministers including Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Nitin Gadkari.
The panel’s move assumes significance as the established and startup carriers are engaged in bitter war of words over the 5/20 norm, with noted industrialist Ratan Tata pitching for removal of this rule.
Tata Group owns stakes in two new carriers — AirAsia India and Vistara.
However, the Federation of Indian Airlines — that comprises Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir — are vehemently opposed to scrapping 5/20 rule.
Under 5/20 norm, an Indian carrier is required to have at least five years of domestic operational experience and a minimum of 20 planes to go international.
Though the draft Civil Aviation policy, unveiled in October last year, suggested various options with respect to the 5/20 rule, a final decision is yet to be taken.
Terming as sad the lobbying of incumbent airlines for “protection and preferential treatment”, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata, last month, had said such moves (for continuation of 5/20 norm) are reminiscent of the monopolistic pressures by entities with vested interests who fear competition.
Tata Sons runs joint venture airlines, Vistara and AirAsia India, with Singapore Airlines and AirAsia respectively. Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace is the third partner in AirAsia India.
Hitting back, FIA had alleged that the demand to call for removal of 5/20 was not in “national interest” but “self-interest” on the part of the Tata Sons and its partner airlines.
Last month, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma had said the government would take a call on 5/20 rule at the right time.
Aeronautical Society of India said that the Government should first define the type of “aircraft” before taking any decision on 5/20 norm.
“We understand that the Government is going to take a call on the existing norm for international operation by the Indian carriers. But, before deciding the fate of the regulation, it should first defined the type of aircraft,” Aeronautical Society of India’s senior council member, Debashish Saha said.
He said that even the current regulation does not spell out the type of required (20) aircraft an airline should have to fly international along with five years of operational experience on domestic routes