DIAL pushing small aircraft operators out of IGI Airport: BAOA

By: |
August 03, 2016 5:04 PM

A statement by Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) states that Delhi International Airport (DIAL) has refused to accept and honour the Union Cabinet-approved National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)

A statement by Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) states that Delhi International Airport (DIAL) has refused to accept and honour the Union Cabinet-approved National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) announced on June 15, 2016, as the arbitrary treatment being meted out to small aircraft industry at India Gandhi International (IGI) Airport contradicts the principles of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) under the NCAP, which aims to ensure economic growth and connectivity in Tier II and III cities through operations of small aircraft.

Earlier this year, DIAL refused to permit small aircraft operators to maintain their own aircraft. They were being forced to hand over maintenance of their aircraft to one of the two concessionaires appointed by DIAL and pay 24 per cent additional royalty charges.

BAOA has approached the Delhi High Court for making DIAL agree to permit small aircraft operators do own-maintenance. Be that as it may, the operators reassured themselves that like self-maintenance, self-handling of aircraft, as announced in NCAP, would continue to be permitted. However, DIAL dropped its second salvo last week; stopping small aircraft operators from doing self-handling by refusing to renew vehicle passes for air side movement. In the absence of vehicle passes, operators are being forced to depend on outsourced vehicles whereby compromising with safety, security and “on-time” performance of these aircraft.

Aircraft maintenance and ground handling activities are management intensive activities critical to safe and routine operations of aircraft. These activities are usually not outsourced by professional aircraft operators for reliability of operations. The airline operators had successfully fought in the Supreme Court against similar Ground Handling Policy of Ministry of Civil Aviation and got a stay order in 2011. It is because of this order that the NCAP and RCS accepts to allow self-handling by operators.

“This is not the only Union Cabinet approved policy that DIAL has violated; as they also continue to charge more than 20 per cent royalty on all maintenance and ground handling activities carried out by third party operators. This is against the government’s stated position in NCAP. DIAL has, time and again, misinterpreted Operational Development Management Agreement and tends to believe that IGI Airport is a private airport for public use. DIAL has to always keep in mind that it is a public airport licensed for public use and, managed by private operator under a PPP model. Government has to effectively step in to correct this misinterpretation before it starts affecting other PPP model airports across India and defeats the very purpose of modernising big airports as part of nation building,” said R K Bali, managing director, BAOA.

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