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Corporate Aug 21, 2012

GoAir seeks reversal of norm on flying overseas

Bangalore: CEO of the Wadia Group-owned budget carrier Go Airlines (India) Ltd, which operates services under the brand GoAir, Giorgio De Roni, today sought reversal of government norm of allowing only domestic carriers with a minimum fleet of 20 aircraft to fly overseas.

"India allows foreign airlines with one or two aircraft to operate international flights to India but does not allow Indian carriers to fly international," he told a press conference in Bangalore.

Demanding change of rules. Reuters

Allowing Indian carriers to fly overseas (by waiving this norm) would see "foreign currency coming to India, foreign tourists coming to India and additional employment", De Roni said.

Besides a fleet of 20 aircraft, Indian carriers must complete five years of operations to be eligible to fly overseas.

GoAir, started in 2005, is constrained by the 20-aircraft-must-have clause for starting international flights as it has only 13 aircraft now. De Roni said the company planned to reach the 20-aircraft mark by July 2014.

He said the company has written to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to waive this stipulation, and hoped it would be agreed to.

De Roni, however, said he is yet to receive any feedback from the government on the issue.

De Roni also pushed for FDI in the civil aviation sector (FDI by foreign airlines into Indian ones), saying the move would bring in greater expertise and help improve growth of the industry in future.

"FDI is a great opportunity for India, particularly, I would underline, not for funding purposes but bringing in expertise," he said.

De Roni also said India needs to revise regulations governing the aviation sector as they are currently governed by a 1934 law-older than "Chicago Convention" (signed in 1944)-to improve infrastructure and efficiency in the sector.

Chicago Convention refers to the convention on international civil aviation which established the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). ICAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations mandated with coordinating and regulating international air travel.

While the Indian carriers do not want any flexibility in the matters of safety and security, what they would like is "wider flexibility" in other areas of the system, he said.

"Revision of fuel taxation is priority number one (for the Indian airline industry," according to De Roni.

GoAir, he said, was allowed to import ATF sometime ago but when the shipment arrived at Mumbai airport it could not be offloaded as there was no pipeline and storage facility at the airport. Neither was the airline allowed to bring ATF to its aircraft, he added.

"I am authorised to import ATF but I don't know what to do," De Roni said.

Meanwhile, GoAir today introduced a new flight from here to Goa with the addition of its 13th aircraft.

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