Monday, November 13, 2017

India's Bizav Seeks More Room for Helicopters

A working group will be formed by early January to look into the travails of India's helicopter industry, Jayant Sinha, state minister for civil aviation confirmed at the second annual Aero Expo held in Delhi on November 2. Languishing in India for sheer lack of awareness and political will, helicopter services were set to get a boost in the new civil aviation policy announced last year. But the major proposals, including one on helicopters being free to fly below 5,000 feet without prior ATC clearance, has not been implemented, as an air defense clearance has yet to be resolved.

“It is not difficult to come out with a policy, it is the enactment that is more tedious,” said RK Bali, managing director of the Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA), while expressing optimism the policy would be implemented soon. Secretary of Civil Aviation R.N Choubey said that helicopter taxi services should be encouraged from Delhi, but that is not possible until the Delhi International Airport resolves issues such as parking and slots.

Helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) have significant potential in India’s geographical expanse, particularly in hilly and remote areas. Satpal Maharaj, tourism minister for the northern state of Uttarakhand, said helicopters have a “huge scope for enforcing law and order, rendering air ambulance services, tackling forest fires and connecting religious and tourist destinations located in rough terrain of hilly areas.”
13/11/17 Neelam Mathews/AIN Online