TAKING OFF WITH CARE

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The NCAP (National Civil Aviation Policy) is a futuristic approach that is likely to boost India’s economy and improve regional connectivity. The policy is also expected to increase tourist activities.
Before the Modi-led NDA government approved the policy, domestic airlines were mandated to have 20 aircrafts and a minimum 5 years of experience in order to fly internationally.
The NCAP has scrapped away the 5/20 rule, replacing it with 0/20. Now, domestic airlines won’t have to wait for 5 long years to operate internationally. But they must have a fleet size of 20, deploying 20% of seat capacity locally.
The new clause also attempts to improve regional connectivity by offering cheap travel – Rs. 2500 for one hour flights. It has also cut down baggage costs to Rs. 100 per extra kg. However, the ambition to hike domestic tickets to 30 Million from 8 Million in 5 years seem distant and unreal.
The government is also expected to build 50-80 no frills airport in unreserved and unconnected areas, cities and towns that did not have an airport earlier. The government has, however, overlooked certain issues. There are questions about manufacturing 20 aircrafts, maintenance and spurring oil prices. Will it fuel ticket costs? The question remains unanswered. Albeit to its charismatic appeal, the NCAP has certain gaps that needs to be filled.
The policy that had been in a subject of battle, was opposed by legacy airlines viz. Air India, Spice Jet, and others as it will hamper their profits. Now, with the 5/20 rule abolished, newly born airlines viz. AirAsia and Vistara have a sizeable opportunity to multiply profits.
Though late by a few years, which is common in the Indian democracy, the civil aviation policy will hopefully help the country realize it’s true potential.

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