Business aircraft like these jets at Mumbai International Airport invariably are overshadowed by commercial airliners in India, including at a regulatory level. [Photo: Neelam Mathews]
general aviation sector has expressed disappointment following the October 30
release of the country’s draft civil aviation policy. The public comment period
for this long-awaited draft legislation is set to end on November 20, and
India’s Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA) is requesting changes to
various proposed rules that it believes will further disadvantage an industry
already held back by a flawed regulatory environment.
“We will be asking for rollback of the ill-conceived import duty
on business aircraft imposed since 2007 that has throttled the growth of a
booming industry,”BAOAmanaging director R.K Bali toldAIN. He claimed
that in the past three years the government has collected barely $15 million in
taxes, and that the negative effect on the industry has far outweighed this.
“Only eight aircraft were added [to the Indian register], while many more were
sold,” he stated.
Another point of concern is
the proposed scheduled commuter airlines (SCA) scheme that permits charter
companies to fly on scheduled regional routes. However, if they opt to
participate as anSCA, they will
not be permitted to undertake ad hoc charter operations. “Why are charter
companies being singled out? They need to maximize their operations. This
scheme is a non-starter,” Bali complained.
BAOAbelieves the clause is
discriminatory since scheduled airlines are allowed to do charter flights. Bali
said 90 percent of the charter companies would opt for theSCAscheme if the clause
India’s bizav community
also is pushing for greater legal transparency when it comes to aircraft
management companies. Bali said that some progress has been made in that the
policy covering helicopters now permits them to fly without prior air traffic
control clearance below 5,000 feet and areas other than prohibited and