If you have been reading the newspaper lately, especially the business or the financial section, you would have definitely come across the 520 rule. The rule has a caused a huge stir in the aviation industry with the bigwigs including Jet Airways, Indigo, Spicejet and Go Air at one end and the newbies Tata Vistara and Air Asia at the other. With the budget around the corner, the biggest question is Whether to keep or scrape the 520 rule ? But before we look into that, here’s all you need know about the 520 rule ?
What is 520 rule ?
The 520 or 5/20 rule states that any domestic airline which desires to fly international must have at least 20 aircrafts in their fleet and must have had an ‘operational’ experience of at least 5 years in the domestic circuit. Which simply means that for any domestic airline to travel international, it first has to fly for 5 years within India and must have at least 20 aircrafts in its fleet. Most of the current private airlines flying today like Jet Airways, Indigo and Spicejet have gone through the rule before commencing operations in the international market.
So, what’s all the buzz around the 520 rule ?
The removal of the 520 rule has been in the offing for quite sometime now. With the airlines, civil aviation department unable to arrive at a decision point, the whole issue has bloated up because of the upcoming budget sessions.
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation is up for abolishing the 520 rule. It tried to do so with the former government as well and is trying to do away with the current government as well.
- If the 520 rule is abolished, then the two Airlines Tata Vistara and Air Asia will be hugely benefited since they would be allowed to fly international without having to comply to the rule, which is only followed in India.
- Other airlines which have had to obey the rule in the past are opposing the move as the relatively new airlines would get to fly international right from the word go !
To keep or to scrape the 520 rule ?
Few years ago, the 520 rule would have made sense as the aviation industry was just beginning to grow in India. As years passed the aviation industry expanded it wings and clocked about 106.45 Million in Passenger Traffic alone in FY16 which is commendable. With the aviation industry booming, it needs room to expand. As most of the metros and other important towns already connected via the air route, it would a great choice to allow the Air Lines to fly international from their inception by scrapping off the 520 rule. It will not only help the aviation industry alone but will definitely help the country’s economic situation to improve. I agree that many airlines had to wait 5 years before they could fly international , but the same shouldn’t be applicable now considering the benefits everyone could gain by the removal of the 520 rule.
Well getting rid of the 520 rule seems a good idea however there is a lot of resistance from the bigwigs of Indian Aviation. They have even threatened to hike fares steeply if the government decides to do away with the rule. After all it’s India and the ultimate sufferer is the consumer 🙁