• New Indian aviation policy may give wings to Air Kerala project

    The Indian government’s green signal for a new civil aviation policy has once again rekindled hopes for the much-awaited Air Kerala to take off.

    The Central Government on Wednesday scrapped the 5/20 clause which required an airline to have at least five years of domestic flight service experience for starting an overseas service. However, the condition that the airline must have at least 20 aircraft to launch an international service has been retained.

    Easing the rule would mark an important step towards liberalising India’s aviation market, the world’s fastest growing. The change is expected to increase regional connectivity, boost cargo operations and make flying cheaper.

    V. J. Kurian, additional chief secretary to the government of Kerala and managing director of Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), said now that the deck has been cleared for the airline, it’s up to the new Left Democratic Front government to take a final decision. He said a CIAL board meeting at the end of the month will take stock of the situation.

    Talking to Khaleej Times, Kurian said the cabinet decision is a welcome change. “Starting an airline is not an easy business. There is risk involved in it. But once a policy decision is taken, we will look at the viability of the whole thing, not forgetting so many carriers are running services from here.”

    “The world over, airlines have never been a great business, except for some like Lufthansa, Emirates, AirAsia etc. Most of them are not making big money. But a policy decision has to be taken based on the social aspect as well. Air Kerala will be a boon to millions of people, especially the low-income group, working in the Middle East,” he said. Dennis Smith Authentic Jersey

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