Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has rolled back its previous proposal to re-designate all non-scheduled operator permit (NSOP) holders with less than three aircraft as ‘private’ airlines within a month on the back of opposition from the industry.
In a fresh notification dated November 17 titled ‘Minimum Requirements for Grant of Permit to Operate Non-Scheduled Air Transport Services’, the DGCA has said that “an applicant for the grant of an NSOP shall be in possession of at least one aircraft, either by outright purchase or on lease”.
It added that the minimum paid-up capital needs to be between R2 crore (up to 2 planes/helicopters) and R15 crore (above 10 planes/helicopters).
This is a significant shift from DGCA’s previous notification dated October 13, which said, “The NSOP holders shall have a fleet of minimum three aeroplanes or helicopters either by outright purchase or through lease. To facilitate the start of operations, operators will be permitted to operate with one aeroplane/helicopter and will be given one year’s time from the date of securing operator’s permit to have the fleet size of three”.
If implemented, the above rule would have forced almost 70% of India’s air charter industry, including players like Invision Air, Zest Aviation and Freedom Services, to stop all commercial flights within a year. This was reported by FE in its edition dated October 15.
Reacting to the change, Rohit Kapur, president of Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) said, “BAOA welcomes prompt action by DGCA to pull back proposed requirements of minimum 3 aircraft for non-scheduled operations. Such a step would have severely affected the industry, making operations unviable for more than two third of the existing operators. We look forward to working along with the DGCA in order to increase its safety oversight and the overall operational environment for Non Scheduled Operators in India”