Centre eases norms for charter planes
India is finally making it easier for private planes and charter jets to fly in and out of the country. Currently both Indian aircraft owners and foreign jet setters find it tough to go abroad and fly in, respectively, due to a maze of rules.
The situation is worse if business leaders or high net worth individuals have a last-minute travel plan to do so on a weekend when sarkari offices here are closed and unable to give the required clearances.
Now, the B S Bhullar-headed Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is all set to remove the pre-condition of taking clearance from the regulatory agency (called YA number) by the month-end for Indian-registered charters or private jets to fly out of India.
"We have held discussions with other government agencies like security and defence ministries on this issue. They are on board. Removal of YA number for Indian-registered business and charter aircraft jets will facilitate ease of doing business. The operators will soon simply need file the flight plan with air traffic control and go," said a senior official.
In the second step, the DGCA will make it easier for foreign-registered business and charter jets to fly to India. "That process is also on and we are seeing what all can be done," said the official. The Indian charter industry is relieved at the prospect of YA number being done away with. Business Aircraft Operators' Association (BAOA) president Rohit Kapur said:
"YA number was required earlier when DGCA oversight on operators was limited and every (Indian-registered) aircraft leaving the country needed the regulator's nod which was given after ensuing the plane had the operational capability to do so. Now, DGCA oversight and certification process ensures that operators are given this clearance at the time of initial clearance itself and do not need case-to-case permission for every flight." Kapur added that YA number was a requirement unique to India. "Doing away with YA will ensure operators can fly overseas without delay and this will also free up DGCA resources," he said. Last April, VistaJet — one of the world's largest private jet charter companies — had said getting clearances on a weekend to even overfly India was tough