The Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ex post facto (with retrospective force) dispensation to Air India's subsidiary Alliance Air to conduct flight operations between India and Sri Lanka, waiving the rule that an airline needs to have minimum 20 aircraft to operate internationally.
Under the rules of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA), an airline can conduct international flight operations only when it has minimum 20 aircraft.
At a press conference, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said that while the airline has five years of experience, it does not have the required 20 aircraft currently.
However, in November last year, Alliance Air started operating thrice-weekly flights on the Chennai-Jaffna route.
"The Cabinet has created an exception (from MOCA rules) because from Sri Lanka- there are many Tamils there- people should be getting connectivity. Both countries welcome this decision," Mr Javadekar said.
Later, in a press release, the government said, "India has close bilateral ties with Sri Lanka and our interest is to increase connectivity and to expand people to people contacts between the two countries. Prior to this approval there was no commercial operation scheduled from Palaly and Batticaloa airports." Both Palaly and Batticaloa airports are in Sri Lanka.