• Airlines seek clarity on pilot certification while leasing foreign-registered aircraft

    India’s airlines have asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to provide clarity as per new guidelines on pilot certification requirements when foreign-registered aircraft are leased and operated in India.

    “Currently, the only way to operate foreign-registered aircraft in India is to wet lease them, which means the pilots and crew come with the aircraft. Also, wet leases can only be done for a limited period,” said an executive who heads aircraft purchase and financing at an Indian low-fare carrier.

    Wet lease entails the hiring of an airline crew along with a plane. In dry lease, which is more prevalent, crew are not part of the contract.

    The new rules proposed by the regulator will enable operators to import foreign-registered aircraft and operate them on foreign registration with Indian crew. This will make the aircraft leasing environment user friendly, the civil aviation ministry said in November.

    “The DGCA’s new guidelines pave the way for us to also bring in foreign aircraft on dry leases which me ans only planes and no foreign crew need to be leased.It’s a great step, but there is no clarity on what certification the pilot flying these planes should have. Should he or she have certification of the aviation authority from the country where the aircraft is registered,” the executive said.

    Currently , any aircraft that is being brought to India has to be first registered with the local regulator. The rule has been seen as a hurdle in taking planes on lease by airlines at a time when India is pushing for increased regional air connectivity .

    Exemption from this rule will make it easier for lessors to take back their aircraft in case of a dispute with the airline operating the aircraft. Hence, the step may encourage them to formulate easier leasing contracts with lower rentals.

    The proposed guidelines are to help carriers under the new regional aviation policy aimed at connecting small cities and towns. “Operation of foreign registered aircraft are ideal and convenient for startup airlines, when exploring new routes or during seasonal fluctuations and sudden peaks in demand,” the new rule says.  Jaleel Scott Authentic Jersey

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