India is discriminating against its own airline companies with the 5/20 clause for starting international operations, industry experts have said, calling for scrapping of the rule.
The 5/20 rule bars carriers from starting international operations till they have a fleet of 20 aircraft and domestic flying experience of five years.
Aviation minister Ashok Pushapati Raju had met chief executives of Indian carriers last week where the issue of 5/20 rule had come up. While the new start-up airlines are in favour that the rule be abolished, the older Indian carriers want the rule to stay.
“The 5/20 rule is highly discriminatory. All it has done is hurt the interest of Indian carriers,” said Subhash Goyal, President of Indian Association of Tour Operators. “While restrictions have been imposed on Indian airlines to fly abroad no such restriction applies to foreign carriers flying to India,” Goyal added.
Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of aviation consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, described the 5/20 year rule as one of the most negative regulatory decisions taken since 2003-04 that has seriously impacted India’s national interests, reputation and industry’s ability to grow.
“India is the only country to have this rule which discriminates against its own carriers,” Kaul said.
Continuation of the rule, he said, will mean complete disregard to India’s national and economic interests. “It will be seen as an anti-industry move. Government should have a larger national perspective in mind and not accept the lobbying by Indian carriers,” Kaul said.