India eases flying rules in boost for Singapore Air and AirAsia

India eased aviation rules in a step that allows the local affiliates of foreign carriers such as Singapore Airlines and AirAsia to start international flights more quickly.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet on Wednesday ratified changes that will permit domestic airlines to fly overseas provided they deploy 20 planes or 20 per cent of capacity, whichever is higher, on local routes. Earlier, carriers needed to have a minimum of 20 aircraft in their fleet and five years of domestic services.

The move heralds increased competition in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, posing a possible challenge for market leader IndiGo, run by Interglobe Aviation, and SpiceJet. For younger operators, such as the local ventures of Singapore Airlines or AirAsia, it adds to potential avenues for growth.

Successive governments have chewed over changing the aviation policy framework for more than a decade. Reports about the cabinet’s decision before the official announcement bolstered airline stocks. SpiceJet climbed 3.5 per cent, InterGlobe Aviation 1.8 per cent and Jet Airways 0.2 per cent as of 3.26pm in Mumbai.

Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju confirmed the policy changes on Twitter.

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