Aviation

5/20 row: ‘Norm violation’: AirAsia CEO hits back at old players

DELHI

Adding to the raging debate over the proposed changes in draft civil aviation policy, the Malaysia-based AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes has raised the question of whether owners of Indian carriers stay in the country.

“Are owners of Indian airlines staying in India?” Fernandes tweeted, specifically in response to allegations that AirAsia India is being controlled from Kuala Lampur, reports The Indian Express.

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), a lobby group representing the older airlines IndiGo, SpiceJet, Go Air and Jet Airways had claimed Tuesday that the two new airlines AirAsia and Vistara were in violation of the government guidelines with respect to the clause of substantial ownership and control being vested in India.

“With regard to compliance of Indian regulations related to substantial ownership and effective control by the Tata Group, which promotes Vistara and AirAsia leave a lot to be desired. In AirAsia the Indian majority ownership is spread between two independent unrelated Indian shareholders who effectively have less shareholding than the foreign partner, namely AirAsia, Malaysia. De facto therefore, AirAsia, Malaysia is the largest shareholder,” FIA had earlier said.

Fernandes’ tweet was directed at Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal, a Non­Resident Indian based in London. “For long airlines have been controlled by a few. Mostly NRI,” Fernandes tweeted, saying that India is the only country in the world which has 5/20 rule, under which an airline cannot fly abroad till it is at least five years old and has at least 20 aircraft.

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