NEW DELHI: With the CBI having launched a probe into AirAsia and top officials, AirAsia Group Berhad (AAGB) said in a statement that all the lobbying for the removal of the ‘5/20 norm’ under the UPA regime was done without making any “unlawful payments”.
“AirAsia India as with others in the aviation industry lobbied the government of India to remove the 5/20 rule that inhibits competition and the development of a healthy aviation sector that ensures for the benefit of the Indian consumer but this was done in compliance with the law and certainly without any unlawful payments,” AAGB said.
The 5/20 norm — which required local airlines to be in operation for at least five years and a minimum fleet of 20 planes in order to start overseas operations — was done away within 2016.
The statement comes in the wake of the CBI launching a probe into AirAsia and officials including Group CEO Tony Fernandes, for allegedly trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get an international licence for AirAsia India.
The company started operations in 2014 and the Malaysian group holds a 49 per cent stake in AirAsia India, with the rest controlled by the Tatas. The CBI has also filed a first information report (FIR) where Fernandes and Bo Ling am, Deputy group CEO, are among those named.
AirAsia India also released a separate statement, saying its board has reviewed the recent developments concerning the ongoing investigations. “All such interactions were conducted in a transparent manner and AAIL has not engaged in any wrongdoing in relation thereto,” it said.