India’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) has absorbed the Business Aviation Association of India (BAAI) to fortify the country’s business-aviation sector. The newly enlarged group will be known as the BAOA, a not-for-profit group recognized by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC).
“Business aviation has grown at a faster pace [12 to 13 percent since 2001] than commercial aviation in India, and the country is set to be the third largest aviation market by 2020,” BAOA chairman and president Rohit Kapur told AIN. However, he added, “The industry is fighting infrastructure and policy framework concerns. The standards of safety, security and infrastructure are not adequately defined. India’s potential to add more than 1,000 business aircraft and rotorcraft in the next 10 years has created the need for a single, strong body to engage with authorities regularly to push for overall industry growth.”
The BAOA’s agenda includes encouraging closer cooperation among members to define standards by which business aviation can achieve high levels of safety, efficiency, reliability and training. The association plans to make a series of presentations to different concerned ministries and authorities (DGCA, AAI and so on) to remove existing policy hurdles–including customs duties–and bring reforms in infrastructure and other frameworks for business aviation.
The BAOA consists of key members of Indian industry, private and commercial operators, airframe and engine manufacturers, MROs and other service providers. It has also attracted membership from international service providers and OEMs, both of which have a critical stake in the growth of India’s business aviation industry. Membership is open to industry stakeholders.
India is discovering the value of business aviation, and the sector is gaining traction in the country. In fact, the BAOA’s Kapur is confident that the country’s current fleet of 552 general aviation aircraft will reach 1,800 by 2020.
According to Kapur, “Use of business aviation by Bollywood for location inspection, crew transport and marketing and promotions is growing exponentially, with almost all big-budget movies opting for business aviation to save precious time.”
Other segments of business aviation include flights for marriage proposals and weddings (closer to heaven), while a flower shower by a helicopter for auspicious gatherings is also popular. Another growing segment is temple and pilgrimage tours to shrines situated in remote and hilly regions far from cities.
Nikesh Goswami, director of helicopter services firm Wings n Rotors, told AIN, “Many executives, business owners and their families like to seek the blessings of their deity before starting a new venture and prefer to use business aviation for quicker commuting. GA needs a collaborative approach for growth, and I’ll be happy to join BAOA.”