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DGCA may make 3-plane fleet must for commercial charters

Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is proposing to bar air charter operators from commercial flying if they do not have a three-aircraft fleet within a year of operations, provoking consternation among business jet firms.

DGCA has come up with a proposed rule which would permit a non-scheduled operator (NSOP) to launch operations with one plane or a helicopter, but raise its fleet size to at least three within a year of securing the air operator's permit.

The existing NSOPs, which do not have three planes, would be given one year to either have a three-
aircraft fleet or convert themselves to private category in which case, they would not be able to carry out commercial or chartered flights, official sources said. The aircraft could either be purchased or leased.

Within this one year period, an NSOP would be allowed to operate non-scheduled air services with less than three planes or choppers, subject to meeting all airworthiness and operational requirements, the sources said.

Air charter firms, NSOPs and others concerned have been asked to submit their comments on the proposed changes in the rules by 12 November.

Asked to comment on the matter, Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) officials said lot of deliberations would be required as it could create some problems for small operators.

They said the BAOA would submit a detailed response to the DGCA in the next few weeks after holding widespread consultations with its members and others concerned.
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