GoAir Airlines
Airbus A-320 of GoAir airlines at Chhatrapati Shivaji airport, Mumbai.Wikimedia commons

GoAir owners Nusli and Jeh Wadia were against dismantling of the five-years 20-aircraft (5/20) norm for airlines to fly international. However, Tata Group, which owns Vistara, and AirAsia India has been advocating the move to abolish the rule.

Under the 5/20 norm, an airline that has had five years of domestic industry experience and a fleet of 20 aircraft can operate on international routes.

As part of a delegation, Jeh and his father Nusli Wadia, along with SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh, met Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma on Tuesday as part of a Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) team, The Economic Times said.

It is believed the Wadias argued domestic airlines get priority over international airlines in most countries. "This is a new government and there are expectations from it," they reportedly told the minister.

Government-run airline Air India, which was opposing abolition of the rule on Sunday, dropped its opposition. The airline said it was indifferent to the final outcome of the rule, another Economic Times article stated.

The Wadias and the Tatas, friends on ground but opponents in air, differed in their opinion on the matter.

If the 5/20 rule is scrapped, Tata-owned Vistara and AirAsia India, which started operations in 9 January, 2015, and 12, June 2014, respectively, stand to gain. If not, other airlines, such as Air India, SpiceJet, Indigo and GoAir, would benefit.

According to reports, the draft civil aviation policy has proposed three options for the 5/20 norm: a domestic flying credit system, continuation of the norm or abolishment of the norm.

"Change is not always easy or equitable in the short term, and it is understandable that those affected will resist, but maintaining a regulation simply because the incumbents were subject to it is a protectionist approach that will forever consign the industry to negative regulation and has no place in a modern, competitive industry," said a recent report by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

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