New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Friday said the government had started deliberations to do away with the 5/20 rule, which dictates that Indian airlines need at least five years of local flying and 20 aircraft in their fleet to fly on international routes.
“I personally want to do away with the rule but we are in a democratic setup. I have taken the issue to the cabinet but it may not be their first priority to resolve it as there are other pressing issues. I am looking at solving it at the earliest in coordination with the cabinet,” he said at an event organised by aircraft manufacturer Boeing here.
Raju had earlier said that he is against restrictive policies (including the 5/20 rule) that would hamper the growth of the civil aviation industry in the country.
In a separate event, the minister also said that the draft of a new civil aviation policy will soon be put out in the public domain to obtain feedback from the industry on its provisions.
“A new civil aviation policy is in the process of being drafted. Once, it is ready, response and comments of stakeholders will be sought, so that a vibrant and forward looking policy can be put in place,” the minister said at the inaugural of the ‘International Civil Helicopters Conclave 2015′ here.
Raju said the policy will be an enabler for the industry to grow.
“The facility of flying should not be restricted to only the privileged people in the country. We should put policies in place so that flying becomes affordable and reaches the masses,” he said.
Furthermore, the minister called upon the civil aviation sector to come up with new ideas to give a boost to the country’s chopper industry.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma stressed the need to increase helicopter services to the northeastern states and hilly areas of the country where road connectivity is a major problem.
He pointed to the need to create ‘Helihubs’ in Delhi and Guwahati to facilitate smooth navigation of helicopters.
Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said the new civil aviation policy was being framed keeping in mind the special needs of the helicopter sector.
“The helicopter sector needs light touch regulations. The new civil aviation policy, including the policies of directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) will have such light touch regulations without compromising with overall safety requirements,” he said.
Choubey informed that regional connectivity and religious tourism using helicopters will be given a major push under the new policy, through fiscal initiatives.
He added that talks were on with the road transport and highways ministry to work out ways for quick and low-cost evacuation of victims of road accidents.