India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has banned nonscheduled air operator permit (AOP) holders–including indigenous business jet operators–from flying to international destinations unless certification documents adhere to the international air operator certification manual.
This follows an ICAO safety audit of India last December that found “significant safety concerns,” with deficiencies in AOP holders and maintenance. Last month, an Indian-registered business jet was refused landing by Singapore as it did not have AOP documentation.
In the past week an ICAO team carried out a follow-up on aviation safety and regulatory practices in India and found no “significant safety concerns.” Before the follow-up audit, the DGCA grounded Eon Aviation, a Mumbai-based charter company, after doing random checks.
While the DGCA told operators yesterday that it would fast-track documents for those that fully comply, it didn’t specify any deadlines and there is concern that a manpower shortage could delay paperwork. “Given the state of the economy, it would be ideal if the ban on business jets is lifted as losses are being borne by private companies and charters,” Rajesh Bali, secretary of India’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA), told AIN.
“The DGCA should have had a phase-out period rather than shutting down our operations without giving us a warning,” one operator, who wished to remain anonymous, told AIN.