On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved the Civil Aviation Policy 2016, which focuses on making flying affordable, convenient and cheap. The long-awaited policy will make it simpler for new domestic airline companies to start flying international routes, will make short-span travel cheaper, focus on improving regional connectivity, develop chopper and charter operations, and lots more. Here are the top things you need to know about the policy.
Civil Aviation Policy 2016:
1. This policy will bring down airfares to 2,500 rupees per hour of flying time on many under-served regional routes, particularly away from big cities.
2. The policy also amended what is called the 5/20 rule, which allowed only airlines that had operated for five years and had 20 aircraft in their fleets to fly internationally. Now airlines which own 20 aircraft can fly internationally regardless of the number of years they have been in service. This move has been opposed by the older airlines.
3. Under this policy, the government will develop 350 underused or dilapidated airstrips across the country and turn them into ‘no-frills’ airports.
4. To make flights even cheaper and accessible to the large section of the population that has never flown before, the 2% cess on flights has been removed.
5. This policy aims to increase domestic ticket sales to 300 million (30 crore) a year by 2022.
6. The policy also reduced the fees on excess baggage from Rs. 300 per extra KG to Rs. 100 per extra KG; over and above the permissible 15 kg up to 20 kg.
7. Under this new policy, the cancellation fee will be limited to the basic fee.
8. Getting refunds for cancelled tickets or flight will be made easier under this policy.
9. In a boost to helicopter services, many rules regarding clearances are being ammended; enabling choppers to land and take off at construction and accident sites easily.
< 10. Aiming to turn India into a maintenance and overhaul (MRO) hub in the world, the policy mandates airport operators to bring down airport charges and royalty for MRO. As of now, most of the Rs 5,000 crore MRO business goes out of the country because of taxation issues and charges that airport operators levy on MRO.