Govt mulls norms to differentiate between small and large airlines

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New Delhi | Updated: July 3, 2015 1:18:58 AM

The civil aviation ministry is likley to come out with a new set of regulations that will differentiate small airline operators...

The civil aviation ministry is likley to come out with a new set of regulations that will differentiate small airline operators — typically private aircraft and jets — from large commercial airlines. Ministry officials said that unlike in the US and Europe, where there are different regulations covering the two different kind of airlines, India is under one blanket regulation.

The ministry has prepared a draft of new civil aviation requirements (CAR) for scheduled operators and non-scheduled operators. The draft lists out a new set of operational guidelines for small aircraft operators.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) both have different set of regulations for private and business aircraft. This is primarily because small aircraft carry fewer people, and require less ground staff and technical understanding, compared to what is required to operate large aircraft, including the narrow-body planes used for domestic commercial travel.

If this has to go through, ministry officials said, some changes might have to be made in the rules, and it might also require some amendments in the aviation laws. Laws might become more stringent for larger carriers. “We will focus more on aircraft which is used for public travel,” said ministry officials.

However, it should be noted that the fleet of small business aircraft is thrice that of commercial aircraft, and the industry is estimated to be around R2,500 crore, in India. According to an email response from Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA), “The draft CAR is based on Jet engine below 5700 kgs turbo prop and single engine training requirement should also be included in this CAR that are specifically applicable for aircraft below 5,700 kg.”

Ministry officials said that smaller aircraft require limited technical people to operate the aircraft. The draft also lists out a bunch of new guidelines on flight crew training, pilot training and qualification requirements.

However, the draft did mention that all small aircraft operators will continue to follow the flying norms, and basic requirements mentioned by the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). For example, the draft said, “The operator shall maintain a record, sufficient to satisfy the DGCA of the qualification of the pilot and of the manner in which such qualification has been achieved.”

The CAR also mentioned that all flying crew members should carry applicable and valid licence acceptable to the DGCA. All training and familiarisation programmes should also be approved by the regulator, the draft mentioned.

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