Local regulations require every Indian airline to operate in the domestic sector for five years before it can fly international routes. But aviation minister Ajit Singh asserts that the twin conditions that an Indian airline must be five years old and have 20 aircraft in its fleet to start overseas flights are both “unreasonable and not needed.”
Singh told a local newspaper that “this rule was wrong and possibly manipulated in the first place. The 20/5 conditions are not required. Indian airports need to become aviation hubs, and our airlines should not face such restriction in flying abroad when foreign airlines do not face any such conditions.”
Since the proposal for Tata SIA Airlines states that it will fly within India and on international routes, there is speculation about whether this will create a conflict of interest with Tata Group's low-cost carrier partner. AirAsia.
“There is no competition,” a Tata Group spokesman says. “AirAsia has known from the very beginning that we have been in talks with SIA and our plans to launch a full-service carrier. . . . The two airlines will complement each other.”
In the joint venture with AirAsia, the Tata Group will hold 30%, while Telestra Tradeplace will have a 21% stake. The remaining 49% will be owned by the Malaysian airline.
AirAsia India is going through the approval process and aims to launch services by year-end, with a focus on connecting secondary cities. The no-objection certificate from the aviation ministry will pave the way for a December or January launch of the proposed low-cost carrier.