A group of ministers (GoM) headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would meet early this week for consultation on the civil aviation policy that includes proposals to ease norms for overseas operations and restructuring of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The policy, which was referred to the GoM by the Cabinet last month, has proposed to ease rules for domestic carriers to fly overseas.
Under the current norms, an airline should operate for a minimum of five years and include a fleet of at least 20 aircraft, to be eligible for launching overseas operations.
The policy also contains a "Vision 2020" document that would lay down the broad contours of the roadmap of the civil aviation sector in light of the recent boom in the sector.
UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya promoted Kingfisher Airlines, which recently acquired 26 per cent in domestic low cost carrier Air Deccan, was keen on starting international operations.
Easing of norms for starting overseas operations are expected to bring down fares as more airlines clamour against each other to corner a larger pie of the lucrative US, European and Gulf sectors. The country's national carrier Air India (AI) has reduced its fares for all classes of its non-stop Mumbai-New York flight, within the first week of launching the service on August 1 this year.
Apart from the easing of overseas norms, the policy also proposes to restructure the functions of the Airports Authority of India, including hiving-off of some of the air transport-related services as subsidiaries of AAI, and the creation of a separate entity for air traffic management services under government ownership.
However, certain quarters have expressed concern that such a move might lead to substantial drop in revenue for the Air Traffic Controller and the matter is expected to come up at the meeting of the GoM.
Apart from Mukherjee, the 10-member ministerial group include Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Defence Minister AK Antony, Law Minister HR Bharadwaj and Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, Shipping and Transport Minister TR Baalu, Tourism Minister Ambika Soni, minister of state for civil aviation Praful Patel and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.