Oommen Chandy sees hope for Air Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 24 : Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's pet project to launch Air Kerala got a lease of life after union Aviation Minister Ajit Singh stated that the 20/5 rules need not be applied for India's domestic airlines to fly abroad.

Under the 20/5 rules, an airline keen to fly on international routes is required to have a fleet of 20 aircrafts, and should have completed five years of domestic operations. Ajit Singh, however, said Monday there is no technical reason in asking our airlines to comply with the 20/5 rules to fly abroad.

"It is simply not good for the Indian airline industry," he said.

Speaking to IANS over telephone from Nagpur, Chandy said Kerala has consistently taken up this issue with the centre and things appear to be bright with Ajit Singh's recent statement.

"The 20/5 rules did play spoilsport to our dream project Air Kerala, and now things appear to be back on track. We had not shelved this project at all, and we will go ahead when the centre clears it," Chandy said.

Air Kerala, the state's own airline, has been Chandy's pet project since he became the chief minister in 2004 and then in 2011.

Chandy has all along argued that Air India Express was given relaxation in rules when it started international operations, and similar relaxation of rules can be extended to the proposed Air Kerala.

--IANS (Posted on 24-09-2013)

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