The government may soon allow private airlines to join the Vande Bharat Mission. This may be a welcome move for domestic carriers who earlier sought permission to participate.
An announcement is expected soon as Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola discussed the issue during a ministry meeting on May 20, The Economic Times reported.
Discussions about fares and flights that private carriers would operate is under discussion and “will be announced soon,” a government official told the paper. Presently, Air India and subsidiary Air India Express hold monopoly on the mission. In the updated plan, the national carrier could focus on long haul rescues, while private carriers concentrate on short-haul spots.
Airlines will have to take approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) before any such flight, another official added.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
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The mission seeks to repatriate Indians stuck abroad after domestic and international air travel was shut down since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Allowing private airlines to join the efforts would give financially-struggling companies some revenue and may also lead to reduced ticket prices for citizens.
Airline executives told the paper the move was a welcome one – “a big positive” for the financially-strained sector and companies. It is believed that the move comes after the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package failed to provide any relief for the financially-drowning aviation industry.
One executive told ET: “This will allow repatriation of citizens who are on waitlists. This also allows private airlines to get their aircraft, crew, and operational staff actively working again … it creates a revenue opportunity … and will make the flights more affordable.”