Foreign destinations not far
MUMBAI, AUG 3 : The dream of new Indian carriers to fly to foreign destinations may soon be fulfilled. The current stipulation of completing five years of domestic operations before a carrier can be allowed to operate on international routes may be relaxed, according to ministry of civil aviation sources. The ministry is planning to relax the clause by reducing the timeframe to three years.
The existing clause states that only domestic carriers with a fleet of a minimum 20 aircraft and operating in the domestic sector for five years will be allowed to fly on foreign routes. The policy was originally formed as a measure to check the capability of domestic carriers before they fly internally. However, industry analysts feel the measure is taken to safeguard the interest of state-run carriers Air-India and Indian Airlines. An A-I executive confirmed, “If all private carriers are allowed to fly overseas then it will hit our revenue.”
However, new entrants are experimenting novel ways to fly to foreign destinations even as the stipulation remains unchanged. Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines has floated a subsidiary named Kingfisher Airline Inc in the US to operate flights from US to India. This company is owned 75% by Mallya. Kingfisher Airlines recently placed an order for the ultra long-haul A340-500, capable of flying non-stop from India to the US. This recent order begins the countdown to the imminent commencement of international operations by Kingfisher Airlines.