Government may soon do away with the rule that allows an Indian carrier to fly overseas only after it has flown within the country for five years and has a 20-aircraft fleet, with officials saying there was no justification for such norms to continue now.
A note for the Union Cabinet has been moved by the Civil Aviation Ministry some weeks ago and the matter may be taken up in the next few weeks, they said.
"There is no valid reason for such a rule to exist in the present context," an official, requesting anonymity, said.
At present, only airlines with at least five years of continued domestic operations, a minimum of 20 aircraft and paid-up capital of Rs 100 crore can fly abroad, under the rule that was approved by the Cabinet in December 2004.
As the Cabinet had then taken a decision on this issue, it would have to approve any changes made in it, the officials said.
The move has come in the wake of demands by existing airlines like GoAir and start-up carriers like AirAsia India that the rule should be done away with in view of competition from foreign carriers.
Some foreign airlines, already operating in India, did not satisfy these rules as the respective countries to which they belonged did not have such regulations.
In fact, AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes, who has tied up with Tata Sons and Telstra Tradeplace to launch AirAsia India, has castigated the rule.
He had said in July: "These are bizarre rules ... that you can't fly abroad before five years and 20 aircraft (fleet) ... That rule makes no sense. It is a negative for the Indian airlines. I, as a one-plane airline in Malaysia, can fly to India. India is the only country which has such a rule."