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Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BAOA Appeals for Aircraft Subcategories
Aug 18 2015
For the first time, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is proposing to allow different regulatory codes for aircraft based on their all-up weight. The new policy would define two categories of aircraft: more or less than 5,700 kg (12,566 pounds).
The country’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) has welcomed the DGCA report proposing this change as a positive first step toward regulations more suitable for non-airline operations. Reacting to the DGCAreport, the BAOA is further asking for separate standards and recommended practices for scheduled and nonscheduled operators; currently the two types of operation are lumped together under many of the same rules. The association has suggested subclassifications for the two categories.
“You cannot equate a small operator flying three aircraft of Challenger 605 weight class, for instance, with an airline operating 70 narrowbodies,” said BAOA managing director R.K. Bali. The association has recommended that business aircraft be separated into above-5,700-kg and below-5,700-kg categories. The same distinctions should apply to differences between business aircraft and commercial jets, he said, as each category needs “different rules for crew licensing, extended twin-engine over-water operations [Etops], medical certification and [crews’] minimum flying hours.”
Relief is also being sought on restrictive flight and duty time limitations, which for smaller aircraft, BAOA says, should be based on India’s “domestic requirements for air connectivity…” “We should be flexible,” said Bali, while also suggesting that India “could reassess the present rule, based on FAA standards,” that restrict a Cessna Caravan turboprop single to nine passengers rather than 11 under EASA rules. “Every country looks at its specific requirements, and the rules cannot all be the same,” he added.
Simultaneously, the DGCA is in the process of finalizing an e-governance plan that will enable all aircraft operators–whether airline or general aviation–to process approvals and clearances online. The list includes more than 90 items and will be in place by year-end. Users will be able to access it by March 31 next year. This will be a boon to business aviation in particular as it “will reduce timelines for clearances, given the DGCA’s undersized manpower,” Bali told AIN. He added that business aircraft often suffer delays in official approvals because theDGCA is short of staff. A private charter operator told AIN the new plan would introduce transparency and deadlines would have to be adhered to.