Towards open skies

The new civil aviation policy is a welcome development in many respects


The new civil aviation policy is a welcome development in many respects. The wrangling over the 5/20 rule for carriers to fly foreign routes had reached absurd levels. The argument used by legacy stakeholders that easing the norms would benefit newer entrants was essentially a plea for maintaining substandard policies in perpetuity.

Some of the provisions to safeguard consumers—such as rules related to refunds—are understandable as well. That said, restrictions on the amount to be charged for excess baggage or on ticket prices for certain routes are unnecessary. Airlines are best suited to decide such matters for themselves, surely. Anti-cartelization provisions to check them already exist in case of collusion.

And the elephant in the room, of course, is Air India. An aviation policy enabling private carriers makes the anachronism of having a state-owned carrier even more apparent. It’s well past time the state took itself out of the business.