Overriding a three-month-old directive that resulted in difficulties and delays in obtaining crew visas and temporary landing permits (TLPs), India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has authorized the nation’s consulates abroad to grant business visas to crew of nonscheduled and chartered flights. Not to be confused with the landing permit for the aircraft, the TLP permits customs to allow entrance into India by crewmembers of nonscheduled flights, the DGCA said. The TLP costs $40 per crewmember and should be issued within three days of submission “at Indian missions and posts abroad” or upon arrival in India as per the guidelines in the directive.
This comes as a relief to U.S. and European operators that have in the past experienced numerous cancellations stemming from difficulties in obtaining crew visas, since there was no clear policy on what types of visa were to be issued to pilots. Also, crew visas can take up to five weeks to be approved by the Indian government.
“We appreciate the support of the Indian authorities in clearing these issues quickly, and also that they appreciate the importance of the role business aviation plays to promote foreign business into India,” Lex den Herder, vice president of government and industry affairs for Universal Weather, told AIN.
Rohit Kapur, president of the Business Aircraft Operators Association of India, said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the new order and will watch to see how it is implemented.