New carriers like AirAsia and Vistara would need 10-12 aircraft to amass 300 domestic flying credits (DFC), a prerequisite to start international operations once the government scraps the current 5/20 rule and replaces it with new norms.
According to the new rules, which the ministry is finalising, airlines would need 300 DFCs for long-distance flights (such as to the US and UK) and 600 DFCs for short-distance flights (such as to Hong Kong). One DFC equals 10 million available seats per kilometre, reports Financial Express.
The ‘flying credits’ concept will do away with the current hindrances, but these carriers would still need to fly more regional routes to amass the credits, which may take time. “Both Vistara and AirAsia will need at least 10-12 aircraft for 300 DFCs and 18-20 aircraft for 600 DFC if they wish to operate international flights in the next two to three years,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO of aviation consultancy firm CAPA India.
Currently, Vistara has six aircraft and AirAsia has four. AirAsia generated 10 DFCs in January while Vistara generated three. Considering that, with the same fleet, AirAsia will take a little more than two-and-a-half years to qualify as an international flyer. Vistara on the other hand will take longer.