Taking one step forward and a couple backwards is nothing unusual when it comes to policymaking in civil aviation. It is not surprising that the sector is now crisis-ridden.
But on Tuesday, the Union government took the positive step of maximizing the utilization of bilateral flying rights, including private airlines. This has the potential to unleash competition between different airlines in the country for a slice of the foreign market.
In the long run, competition-enhancing moves are the only way to ensure a lean and healthy aviation sector. Giving the usual dollops of favourable treatment —credit, bailouts and the like—has not made any positive contribution to the sector.
Yet, the government relents at the first sign of distress from airlines. All this should be ended and steps such as the one outlined on Tuesday encouraged.