• Civil aviation policy potential gamechanger

    The Modi government’s integrated Civil Aviation Policy has the potential to be a gamechanger not just for the airline industry’s revival and growth but also for the government in terms of policy-making process and orientation. Sustained engagement with stakeholders and a win-win policy orientation can be adopted for other sectors too. The crux of the policy is the dove-tailing of industry growth with passenger benefits.

    The government wants more members of the 30-crore strong middle class to fly which would help the troubled airline industry by boosting revenues and possibly profitability too. Though the low-cost airlines played a major role in making flying affordable for the upper middle and middle classes, the growth and expansion in number of tickets sold has not been substantial and sustained. One such initiative is the Regional Connectivity Scheme with a cap of Rs 2500 for an hour-long flight of about 500-600 kms which it hopes would lure more people to fly. Similarly, diluting the norms for airline companies to fly on international routes — the 5/20 rule — would mean more frequent flights and possibly at competitive prices.

    The integrated policy covers 22 areas and most of them would be acceptable to all. But industry analysts and observers are critical of aspects the policy is silent about, be it privatisation of loss-making Air India or the roadmap for setting up an independent and autonomous Civil Aviation Authority. Rod Langway Womens Jersey

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