International trip support provider United Aviation Services (UAS) is looking for a partner in India. Viney Garg, the Dubai-based group’s business development manager, said it wants to get a partnership up and running this year.
One possible complication is the Indian government’s requirement that ground handling companies in the country are 51-percent owned by Indian nationals, and India’s complex tax rules could also be problematic. However, there is clearly strong demand among business and private aircraft operators for help in India with flight and landing permits and all aspects of trip support in a country that remains short on infrastructure and where bureaucracy can be an impediment to smooth operations.
“India is a promising market but continues to face regulatory issues,” Garg told AIN. “For instance, while the notice period for an arriving flight has been reduced from seven working days to three, why can’t it be 24 hours?” He added that three weeks’ notice is required to use airports, which makes it hard for business aviation operators to access otherwise convenient landing places such as Goa, Agra and Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.
Currently, India’s commercial capital Mumbai accounts for about 50 percent of all business aviation movements in the country, but ground handling services are largely concentrated in the hands of one service provider, GVK Consortium. Landing and parking charges in Mumbai are high, as are flight support fees, so operators would likely welcome a more competitive market for these services.