AirAsia India could soon be flying into international skies with the Delhi High Court refusing a plea to stop the award of overseas permit to the budget carrier. According to senior government officials, the airline may get the nod to carry international passengers by October 2019.
“There is no restriction (on award of licence) from the high court. The decision on AirAsia’s request will be taken on merits. It even fulfills the criteria laid under the old civil aviation policy,” a senior official told FE.
AirAsia, a joint venture between Tata group and Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad, applied for an international licence to the aviation ministry in January 2019 after it completed the regulatory requirement of at least 20 aircraft in the fleet. It currently has 22 Airbus 320s aircraft and plans to take its fleet strength to 30 by 2019 end.
In June, the airline completed five years of operations in the domestic market.
AirAsia’s permission to fly abroad has been held up due to ongoing CBI investigations into allegations of lobbying for relaxing international flying norms for airlines. Even the Enforcement Directorate had lodged a money laundering case against some of the AirAsia executives.
The high court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to file the status of investigations by September 26.
Under the new civil aviation policy in 2016, the conditions for obtaining international flying rights was relaxed to minimum 20 aircraft in the fleet, dropping the 5/20 rule which stipulated at least five years experience in the domestic market along with 20 planes.
30/07/19 Arun Nayal/Financial Express