India has reduced the advance application requirements for foreign-registered aircraft from seven to three business days for landing permits and from three days to one business day for overflight permits. The legislation, which has been cleared by the state cabinet, is now awaiting amendment to the civil aviation requirements by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to enable it to be enforced. That process is likely to take around two months, sources have told AIN.
The faster approval times are being implemented on a trial basis for six months, after which the waiting period is likely to come under review and could be abolished altogether, paving the way for instant approvals. The seven-day restriction was imposed 18 years ago, following security concerns when a low-flying private aircraft air-dropped illegal arms in Bengal, East India.
The waiting period will also be waived during the trial for operators meeting three specific requirements: making at least three flights to India in the past 365 days; the flight is by a non-resident (Indian) of any of the 194 contracting ICAO states; and if approval is endorsed by an official of the rank of deputy secretary of India, a government official who requested anonymity told AIN.
“We welcome this decision,” said Rohit Kapur, president of India’s Business Aviation Operators Association, which for the last two years has been advocating the adoption of clear guidelines on access to Indian airspace and airports for foreign-owned business aircraft.