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Indian air charter operators including Tata, Reliance want DGCA to lift ban on international flights

Close to 20 Indian air charter operators will meet the DGCA to request the aviation regulator to lift the recent ban on all their international flights.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 26, 2013, 08.38 AM IST
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Close to 20 Indian air charter operators will meet the DGCA to request the aviation regulator to lift the recent ban on all their international flights.
Close to 20 Indian air charter operators will meet the DGCA to request the aviation regulator to lift the recent ban on all their international flights.
MUMBAI: Close to 20 Indian air charter operators will meet the Director General of Civil Aviation on Monday to request the aviation regulator to lift the recent ban on all their international flights. The operators include Tata Group’s Taj Aviation and Reliance Commercial Dealers apart from the Oberoi Group’s charter division.


The DGCA’s order says all charter operators in India will have to get certain approvals before they can fly abroad again.

“We will tell the DGCA we shouldn’t be stopped from flying abroad while scrutiny for the new set of approvals is on,” said Rohit Kapur, head of Business Aircraft Owners Association, a lobbying body of business jet operators.

Close to 20 Indian air charter operators will meet the DGCA to request the aviation regulator to lift the recent ban on all their international flights.
“The ban is unnecessary and would mean significant losses,” he added.

The ban on charter operators is part of the stringent measures taken by the DGCA to improve India’s aviation safety and regulatory structure, after it came under the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) scanner for not being up to global standards.

In December 2012, ICAO said there were “significant safety concerns” with the way India’s aviation was regulated. It compared the safety standards in line with much less developed nations such as Angola and Haiti. The DGCA put in place various new rules relating to air worthiness and air certification over the last one year. On Friday, an audit team from the ICAO gave a clean chit to its safety structure after a week-long audit.

Meanwhile, at least two charter carriers were forbidden from operating to Singapore and Hong Kong because of safety concerns, said two persons close to the development.

India has about 150 business jets compared to over 300 planes with scheduled airlines such as Air India and Jet Airways.

“The issue is that some of the small business jets don’t have some automated navigation equipment that international airports mandate for lower emissions and to ease congestion,” said the owner of a charter operator.

“The equipment wasn’t fitted on to our planes when they were delivered and now retro fitting them would require major investment. Also, it’s difficult to find spares for such equipment for small aircraft,” he added.

According to the DGCA’s August 21 order, the charter operators also need to get approvals such as ETOPS, which is an approval for twin-engined planes to fly longer routes or MNPS which is required for aircraft flying in the north-Atlantic airspace.

“It might take a while to get these approvals, but we won’t allow the operators to fly before that,” said Mishra.

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