Only India has 5/20 aviation norm: AirAsia chief

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New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes on Saturday said India is the only country in the world with a 5/20 kind of aviation norm in the world and that Indian people should voice their needs to heard.

“India needs more tourism. More jobs. Only country in the world with a 5/20 rule. Malaysia has foreign airlines operating here. No issue,” tweeted Fernandes.

The existing 5/20 aviation rule makes an airline eligible to operate flights to foreign destinations only after five years of domestic flying and after possessing a minimum of 20 aircraft fleet.

Indian airlines Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo, currently eligible to fly to foreign destinations, and GoAir are opposing government’s decision to abolish the 5/20 rule.

The eligible airlines made representations to the government under Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) to Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh on retaining the 5/20 norm and others.

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They highlighted that the proposed exemption of 5/20 rule will amount to injustice to the existing airlines.

Expressing surprise at Indian government’s proposal to scrap the rule, Fernandes asked: “Is this true.”

Taking a potshot at the opponents, he said, in a tweet: “People of India your voice needs to be heard more. For too long airlines have been controlled by a few. Mostly Non-resident Indians (NRI). Competition is needed.”

Tata Sons-funded full-fledged airline Vistara with nine planes and budget carrier AirAsia India with six aircraft are opposed to retaining the 5/20 rule, as they both are less than two years old and hence not eligible to operate international flights.

Vistara is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines, while AirAsia India is a tri-venture with Air Asia Berhard of Malaysia and Arun Bhatia’s Telstra.

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