Business & Economy

BAOA opposes DGCA's proposal to prescribe minimum three aircraft for NSOPs

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, October 29, 2014

The Business Aircraft Operators’ Association (BAOA) today said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation's (DGCA) proposal to prescribe operation of a minimum of three aircraft for non-scheduled operator permit (NSOP) holders would severely retard the growth of connectivity to regional and remote destinations in the country.
In a statement here, the BAOA said the proposal was also contrary to the policy of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).
The association said a majority of NSOPs operate only one aircraft and are looking forward to deploying them on remote routes. "It would be in the best interest of aviation industry to frame regulatory requirement in conformity with the policy of MoCA," it said.
The statement said the proposal would in no way reduce the safety oversight responsibility of the DGCA, which appeared to be the purpose of the amendemnt.
It would, however, result in closure of 80 of the 120 NSOPs in the country, leading to more than 4000 layoffs in the general and business aviation (GA/BA) sector, it said.
"The proposed amendment seeks to convert NSOPs into private category which is neither a workable nor a practical proposition. In the long-term, this would harm India domestic GA/BA industry, as international companies will take advantage of shortage of small aircraft in commercial category and dominate charter business in India. DGCA needs to study the economic impact of such an order and how it will affect the related sectors of the economy," it said.
The association said federal aviation authority rules of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, considered as benchmarks globally, had no such limitations.
"These rules facilitate flexibility of operations and encourage the concept of aircraft management, allowing small operators, owning 1 or 2 aircraft, to exercise the option of either operating independently or join a bigger operator, as dictated by own business  needs. No regulation in a democratic setup can deny such an option to an entrepreneur," it said.
The statement said increasing fleet strength from one to three aircraft would require heavy financial commitments, which are beyond the reach of most NSOPs.
"There is very little business sense to invest in more aircraft at a time when demand in general and business aviation has been sluggish over the past many years," it said
"BAOA, as the voice of the GA/BA industry in India, urges DGCA that the proposal be completely dropped and not pursued any further because it would adversely affect growth of our industry in India," the statement added.
The DGCA's proposal is based on the recommendations of a committee constituted by it for the review of NSOP regulatory requirements.
In a public notice, the DGCA said it had accepted the recommendation and invited comments from stakeholders by November 12.
As per the proposed amendment, NSOPs will be permitted to operate with one aeroplane or helicopter and be given one year's time to increase the fleet size to three.
Within this period of one year, the operator will be permitted to operate non-scheduled services if they meet all airworthiness and operational requirements for such operations. 
The notice said existing NSOPs shall be given one year’s time to either raise the fleet strength to meet the minimum aeroplane/helicopter requirements of the new provision or get themselves converted into Private Category. 

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