We’ve all seen a lot of press on Indian aviation going down the dumps. Yes it is true that Kingfisher Airlines is spiralling downwards, and Air India is surviving on my money (apart from other Indian taxpayers), but looks like when push comes to shove, it is finally the time for India’s government to get over its protective policy stance and give Indian airlines some rope.
First up, they’ve allowed airlines to buy their own jet fuel from abroad, if they can facilitate the import and put them on the planes by themselves. And today, some more interesting developments took place.
Countries sign bilateral agreements on the government level to control the capacity that can be flown from one country to another. These capacities are then distributed amongst the various carriers in the country who want to fly to the other side. Only, in India, it used to work differently. Air India, being the governement-owned carrier, used to get all the capacity signed on with the other countries, as a right to first refusal.
Air India used to keep it all with itself and all the other carriers (Jet Airways, Kingfisher, SpiceJet, Indigo) needed to feed off the little bit Air India would spare to them. All that, while they could not use them by themselves as well.
So, this morning, the Government pulled the plug on the lifeline to AI, and deregularised the international routes. Now, everyone can use the routes and they need to queue up to the government to ask for the routes.
While everyone is deep in the red just now, I would not be surprised when things look up, this would be the start of the making of an Indian carrier which would go global, in line with the growing economic importance of the country.