Hopes rise for Air Kerala as Centre relaxes airlines rules

This post was originally published on 3 June 2015.

Kerala’s dream of own airline company ‘Air Kerala’ may soon take off to the skies with the Union Civil Aviation Ministry bringing in amendments to the norms for starting new airline companies and the issue of licenses for overseas operations.

A committee of Aviation Ministry on Wednesday recommended a relaxation of rules for new airlines operators clearing the path for Kerala’s dream project Air Kerala to take off.

The rule that operators should have five years of domestic service to gain an international licence is likely to be scrapped. Another recommendation was to grant permission for operators who crossed 600 domestic services to conduct services to the Gulf. A Union Cabinet meeting is expected to consider the suggestions soon.

The Air Kerala’s dream of spreading its wings in the skies abroad will materialise soon if these two recommendations are accepted.

The hurdles

Many norms set in the Union aviation policy, which was posing hurdles to Air Kerala, have been revised.

Five years of domestic service and possession of 20 aircraft were the two preconditions in the aviation rules that had been standing in the way of Air Kerala to extend its operations abroad. The Centre had previously relaxed the condition to possess 20 aeroplanes.

If the new recommendations are accepted by the cabinet, Air Kerala would survive all the challenges to start its services to foreign countries. It is estimated that it would cost Rs 300 crore, of which 26% will be born by the State government. The rest of the money will be pooled in through stock market.

Air Kerala planned to be set up as a subsidiary of the country’s first private-public funded Cochin International Airport Limited.. The project was proposed to begin with 15-seated small aircraft operating from 3 airports. The company mainly focus on the Middle East sector.

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