The cabinet on Wednesday approved an ex post facto (with retrospective force) dispensation waiving the ‘5/20 rule’ for Air India’s subsidiary Alliance Air to conduct flight operations between India and Sri Lanka.
Under the 5/20 rule of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, an airline can conduct international flight operations only when it has five years of experience and minimum 20 aircraft.
At a press conference, Union environment minister Prakash Javdekar said while the airline has five years of experience, it does not have the required 20 aircraft currently.
However, in November last year, Alliance Air started operating thrice-weekly flights on the Chennai-Jaffna route.
Javdekar said, “Cabinet has created an exception (from 5/20 rule) because from Sri Lanka – there are many Tamils there – people should be getting connectivity. Both countries welcome this decision”.
Later, in a press release, the government said, “India has close bilateral ties with Sri Lanka and our interest is to increase connectivity and to expand people to people contacts between the two countries. Prior to this approval there was no commercial operation scheduled from Palaly and Batticaloa airports”.
Both Palaly and Batticaloa airports are in Sri Lanka.