Kingfisher Airlines would be permitted to fly abroad this year as it would enjoy the rights of low-cost carrier Air Deccan, which it has taken over.
"All three airlines -- Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher -- are going to fly abroad this year," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said when asked about the fate of a request by the airline owned by liquor-baron Vijay Mallya to operate on international sectors.
When asked if there would be a change in the prevailing norms to permit Indian carriers to become eligible for international operations, he said "they (Kingfisher and Air Deccan) are one company now".
Air Deccan completes five years of domestic operations this August, thereby meeting the eligibility criteria required by the government to permit them to operate abroad. The low-cost carrier also satisfies the other criteria of having a 20 aircraft fleet.
The Minister's reply indicates the current norms are unlikely to be changed and that Kingfisher would be allowed to fly abroad only because it has acquired Air Deccan, and therefore its rights.
The Kingfisher-Air Deccan combine has been a front-runner for being permitted to fly abroad as the low-cost carrier will be completing five years of domestic operations this August.
Jet Airways is the only private airline that has so far been allowed to go global as it matched both the eligibility criteria. State-run Air India also flies on international routes.
A Group of Ministers, which is studying the proposed Civil Aviation Policy, including these norms as well, is likely to meet soon to take a final call on the matter. It is understood that the continuation of the prevailing norms enjoys the majority view.