GoAir confident of approval for international services

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GoAir is confident that its application to start international services will be approved by the Indian government.

Under Indian regulations, airlines need to have been in operation for at least five years and have 20 aircraft in their fleet before they can start international services. While GoAir has been in operation since 2005, it only has 14 Airbus A320s in its fleet.

The airline applied for an exemption last year and its chief executive Giorgio de Roni says he "feels confident" that it will get the nod soon.

"There really is no reason why we should not operate international services. We have been in operation for a long time and we have done well in that time," he says. "With more international services, more tourists will come to India and there will be an increase in foreign capital and employment. There are a lot of benefits to this."

He adds that Indian airlines are also disadvantaged by the ruling, given that foreign carriers do not have to abide by the regulations. "Foreign airlines that are younger than us and have just one or two aircraft are flying into the India, and we can't fly to their markets. That is not fair," he says.

The international market, however, will be primarily to increase aircraft utilisation and reduce the airline's fixed costs. The Indian domestic market will continue to be its core business and the airline will still have the bulk of its capacity catering to that, says de Roni.