April 27, 2016
If a business aircraft operator tries to obtain overflight permission from Indian officials on a weekday, it could take as many as three days to receive approval. If that same operator applies for that same permission on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, it could take considerably longer, according to an executive with India’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) – which is working to reduce the waiting time for operators.
“BAOA has been trying to address this problem for the last four years,” said R.K. Bali, the organization’s managing director. “This surely adversely affects the business of domestic operators undertaking foreign charters. They have been losing business, substantially, because of this weekend issue,” said Bali.
Two years ago, BAOA succeeded in getting the government to reduce the time needed for approval, and in cases of a known operator on a known route, permission is often granted in a single day, provided a similar permission has been granted within the past six months.
However, obtaining permission on a weekend still remains an issue, said Bali, as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) office in New Delhi is not open on weekends.
BAOA continues to work with DGCA officials to speed up approvals, and part of the answer may be found an initiative known as eGCA, in which 159 government functions could be handled online in India. Bali called that effort vital to the economic development in India.
While India continues to be one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment, the “mismatch between the [aviation] regulator’s ability and the country’s ambitious economic goals could hamper optimizing the nation’s recognized potential to become a global economic power,” Bali said.