63 airports operating without licence in country, says DGCA

63 airports operating without licence in country, says DGCA

The Nagpur Airport is also among the defaulters who have not procured licence from DGCA, an affidavit filed by the civil aviation authority contended. The affidavit was filed yesterday in the court of Justice Sharad Bobade and Justice Mridula Bhatkar in response to a PIL challenging transfer of Nagpur airport to MIHAN India Pvt Ltd (MIPL) from Airports Authority of India (AAI).

After receiving assurance from MIPL that till June 30, 2011, it will remove 25 deficiencies from the total 59 pointed out by the DGCA in regard to infrastructure and functioning of Nagpur airport, the court directed the DGCA to ensure this should be complied with within a month.

The court also directed DGCA to take further steps to issue licenses for running the airports. Senior counsel M G Bhangde conveyed this assurance to the Court, on behalf of the MIPL, after getting instructions from Senior Airport Director, MIPL, V K Yadava, who was personally present during the hearing of the PIL.

The DGCA has the responsibility to make safety audit of airports before granting license to operators, including the AAI, the affidavit said. The DGCA affidavit said that licensing procedure was initiated in keeping with the standards notified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Through Government notification, it has been made clear that no person would be able to operate scheduled air transport service to/from an aerodrome from June 30, unless it was licensed, DGCA said.

Out of the total 63 unlicensed airports, those in Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Bangalore and Hyderabad were owned either by the private sector or joint ventures, the affidavit said. While, the DGCA issued temporary licenses to 15 airports, it has inspected 14 out of those airports by now.

It had received applications for license from 15 airports and 33 have not applied till now, the affidavit pointed out. There are 22 defence airports, where civil operations also take place. Issue of licenses to these airports has been taken up with the Defence Ministry, the affidavit said in reply to PIL filed by Vidarbha Economic Development Council.

In view of large number of unlicensed aerodromes functioning at present, the Government has adopted a phased policy in this regard. In the first phase, granting of license to airports with international operations has been taken up.