To ensure safety, the government has decided that from next year, scheduled flights can operate only from aerodromes that are licensed by aviation watchdog DGCA.
The licence requirement would also be applicable to defence aerodromes from where flights have scheduled operations. The move comes against the backdrop of instances where some airstrips were found to be less safe for take off and landing of aircraft. While various norms are in place, the decision would strengthen the regulatory framework in terms of ensuring safety and security of airports.
In a recent notification, the government said that a licence of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would be required for all aerodromes in case they have scheduled flight operations.
As per the notification issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry, “No person shall operate scheduled air transport services to/from an aerodrome including defence aerodromes with effect from December 31, 2016, unless it has been licensed by the DGCA”.
There are many civil enclaves in the country, from where there are scheduled operations. Civil enclaves are part of airports of armed forces that are used for civilian aircraft.
A decision in this regard has been taken after long and extensive discussions with the Defence Ministry, a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said.
Scheduled carrier services
According to the official, DGCA would now be allowed to check and ensure the safety of airstrips and related facilities, including air traffic control (ATC), at defence aerodromes from where scheduled carriers also have operations.
DGCA would have access to the areas and aspects related to scheduled carrier services, he added. “The primary aim is to ensure the safety and security of passengers,” the official said.
There are 476 airstrips/airports in the country including those owned by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), state governments, defence and private parties, among others. Out of them, about 75 have scheduled operations.
Out of the 125 airports owned by AAI, around 95 were operational and 71 had scheduled operations as of July 2015. There are about 18 civil enclaves.