However, the announcement to dedicate a terminal by DIAL for non-scheduled aircrafts came in after a long wait and with several disclaimers.
It was only befitting, after consistent push from the industry, when the Delhi International Airport Limited announced to construct a dedicated terminal for non-scheduled operators and small aircrafts earlier this year, as part of their capacity expansion plan. In India, the business and general aviation industry is ready, waiting and eager to embrace the potential ahead; the regulatory framework has to change, and the infrastructure has to be brought up to support the expected and inexorable growth. Historical evidence from other countries and statistics indicate that a wellrounded aviation growth isn’t possible without an adequate focus on the business and general aviation sector. However, the announcement to dedicate a terminal by DIAL for non-scheduled aircrafts came in after a long wait and with several disclaimers.
IGI Airport of Delhi, the largest public airport of our country took to PPP model for development, operations and management in 2006. At that time there were 28 parking bays for small aircraft at the airport. As per the approved master plan of Delhi International Limited (DIAL), 74 additional parking bays for small aircraft were to be ready long ago, but they are yet to see the light of the day.
INADEQUATE INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT
The draft GA Policy, proposed to be implemented by DIAL earlier in September, was one-sided and treats small aircraft industry unfairly with totally unjustified restrictions of slot allotments and parking. This arbitrary and inequitable treatment towards NSOP and small aircrafts industry adversely affects Government’s ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which aims to ensure economic growth and connectivity in Tier-II and III cities through operations of small aircraft.
As the busiest airport in the fastest growing aviation market, the infrastructure development planning needed to be continuous process with no room for lethargy
Notwithstanding the number of aircraft flying in and out of our airports, supporting infrastructure remains inadequate and inefficient. One of the weakest columns for the airport support remains the near absence of fixed base operators (FBOs) for general aviation and non-scheduled operators. DIAL has, so far, failed to honour the agreement with two Concessionaires who were given the task to implement master development plan for small aircraft at IGI. IGI airport currently handles the maximum traffic in terms of general aviation movement. As the busiest airport in the fastest growing aviation market, the infrastructure development planning needed to be continuous process with no room for lethargy.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF PHASE 3 (A) OF DIAL’S MASTER PLAN
Even as DIAL proposes an action plan towards decongesting the airport, they need to be reminded that they cannot turn a blind eye to the operating requirements of non-scheduled operators and small aircrafts; and are further imposing restrictions by illegally levying higher parking charges and limiting landing slots in the proposed draft General Aviation policy.
Business Aircraft Operators Association, the unified voice for non-scheduled operators in India, has urged for a collaborative approach to address operational issues which have now cropped up due to DIAL’s own lapse of delaying infrastructural development of IGI as per approved master plan.
Finally, it is utmost important to understand the need for exclusive infrastructure for GA/BA industry in a developed nation. If India has to realize its true potential as an economic power in future world, there has to be a robust GA/BA industry wherein freedom to operate business flights is not hampered by lack of infrastructure. The best place to begin that endeavor would be none other than nation’s capital.