In­dia's 5/20 rule for air­lines "must be abol­ished", says Tata

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Tata Sons, the In­dian con­glom­er­ate that owns stakes in AirAsia In­dia and Vis­tara, has re­it­er­ated its call for the 5/20 rule for air­lines to be re­moved. The regulation dic­tates that any new In­dian air­lines must op­er­ate do­mes­tic routes for five years and build a fleet of at least 20 air­craft be­fore they are per­mit­ted to launch in­ter­na­tional flights. But Tata, whose two In­dian car­ri­ers launched in 2014 and 2015, called the rule "dis­crim­i­na­tory", as over­seas air­lines are al­lowed to op­er­ate flights to and from In­dia with­out the same con­di­tions. "Tata Sons be­lieves that the 5/20 rule must be abol­ished if In­dian avi­a­tion is to achieve its full po­ten­tial and im­prove In­dia’s con­nec­tiv­ity with the world," the com­pany in a state­ment this week. "Apart from the fact that there are no global par­al­lels to this rule, the rule is dis­crim­i­na­tory to In­dian air­lines as for­eign air­lines that do not meet th­ese cri­te­ria are al­lowed to op­er­ate in In­dian skies, but In­dian air­lines can­not en­joy re­cip­ro­cal rights." But Tata faces op­po­si­tion in its bid to get the 5/20 rule re­moved. In­cum­bent In­dian car­ri­ers such as Jet Air­ways, SpiceJet and IndiGo have al­ready abided by the rule and feel that its re­moval would give AirAsia In­dia and Vis­tara an un­fair ad­van­tage.

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