The Indian government looks set to reform complex rules that have made it hard for charter operators to expand services. The country’s Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA) is in talks with the Ministry of Civil Aviation to permit nonscheduled operators to enter into codeshares with scheduled airlines to provide feeder services to remote destinations with short and unpaved runways.
“Discussions are also on for [merging] the scheduled operator permit with the nonscheduled operator’s permit [NSOP] under a common air operator permit, as is the global norm,” BAOA president Rohit Kapur told AIN. As things stand NSOP operators cannot legally publish or advertise flight departures or sell tickets to individual passengers. In practice they have to quietly take bookings from passengers and then coordinate the departure time.
The change in permit structure should create a clearer distinction between the use of charter business aircraft as a form of per-seat regional airline service and on-demand whole-aircraft charter, allowing operators the option of offering both types of service. When operators are working under a code share, the airline would sell seats directly, with the charter firm itself then free to sell any unsold seats.