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Only 5 airports have operating licences
Bipin Chandran in New Delhi | October 23, 2006 08:43 IST
Although the present norms require an airport to have a licence to handle aircraft and passengers, most of them, owned and operated by the Airports Authority of India, have been operating without a licence.
According to civil aviation ministry sources, airports and airport operators have been asked to obtain licences before March 31, 2007. Or they will have to shut shop.
Rule 78 of the Aircraft Rules of 1937 stipulates that, "No aerodrome shall be used as a regular place for landing and departure by a scheduled air transport service or for a series of landings and departures by any aircraft carrying passengers or cargo for hire or reward unless it has been licensed."
The airports with a licence are those in New Delhi, Mumbai, Puttaparthy, Lengpui in Mizoram and Cochin International Airport. Of these, the Delhi and Mumbai airports have now been handed over to private consortiums for their modernisation.
Government sources also said the International Civil Aviation Organisation had raised this with the government, following which the DGCA came out with a detailed set of guidelines to license airports.
The new norms require airports to have permissions from the ministry of defence, the ministry of environment and forests and local authorities, before approaching the DGCA for a licence.
The rules also stipulate that while granting clearances and permissions to new airports, the military authorities should examine and indicate that the proposed aerodrome is not causing operational constraints to defence activities due to the proximity of the site to military aerodrome/establishments and is not considered a security hazard.