Paramounts plan to import jets rejected

Written by Nirbhay Kumar | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 5 2010, 05:28am hrs
The civil aviation ministry has rejected Paramount Airways application seeking import of at least five Bombardier jets ahead of a hearing of a writ petition filed by the airline in Madras High Court challenging the directorate general of civil aviation's (DGCA)decision to suspend its permit to operate scheduled air transport service in the country.

The airline's permit has been suspended so it cannot be allowed to import aircraft. In an aircraft acquisition committee (AAC) meeting this week we rejected their proposal," a senior official in the ministry of civil aviation told FE.

The aviation sector regulator DGCA had in July suspended the scheduled operators permit issued to Paramount Airways as the airline failed to meet the necessary requirements under Aircraft Rules. Following this the Madurai-based carrier filed a writ petition in Madras High Court challenging the DGCA order.

The case is posted for further hearing in Madras high Court on Monday, industry sources said.

Paramount Airways MD M Thiagarajan said that the airline would get five aircraft as early as next week and hence would meet the minimum fleet requirement to retain the operators permit. Since we would get five aircraft in a week's time the case is not very relevant now, he said maintaining the airline had the necessary approval from the competent authority to import aircraft. Government sources, however, said Paramount had obtained only in-principle approval from civil aviation ministry to import 10 A321, five A320 and six Bombardier Q400 aircraft and not the permission for actual import. While the government first gives in-principle approval based on the carrier's need it allows actual import only after satisfying itself that the airline has necessary support infrastructure including its financial health.

Meanwhile, the Madras High court has sought to know the difference between in-principle approval and permission to import aircraft. The court wants to know what does 'in-principle' mean as the civil aviation requirements (CAR) mentions permission in the relevant paragraph. It has also desired to submit as under which rule the in-principal term has been used, an official said.

Before suspension of Paramount Airways permit the airline operated a fleet of five Embraer aircraft. Aircraft leasing company GE Commercial Aviation Services Ltd (GECAS), however served a notice to the airline in September last year alleging it had defaulted in paying the agreed rental and sought to terminated the lease.