BIG NEWS: India’s Landing Permit Lead Time Reduced to 3 Days; Overflights Now 1 Day

> | April 15, 2013 | 1 Comment
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BIG NEWS: India’s Landing Permit Lead Time Reduced to 3 Days; Overflights Now 1 Day

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in India.

As reported by several news outlets late last week, the Indian government has instructed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for India to change the lead time to obtain Indian permits. That means that when the process is finalized, the lead time will be reduced from seven days to three business days for a landing clearance and from three days to one business day for an overflight clearance. This is a huge step forward in enhancing operator flexibility when planning operations to this booming business aviation market.

Because of these coming important changes, we want to share a little more insight into the history of how this came about and what you can expect.

It’s important to understand that the details of this change are not finalized, and DGCA is currently working on them. The official Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) is expected to be issued in the near future, but the exact date is not yet defined. Once implemented, there will be a trial period of six months, and if the process works effectively, the advance notice requirement may be reduced further.


The former seven-working-day permit process in India imposed significant limitations on business aviation. Permits took longer to process than they did in other countries, which severely limited trip planning and schedule changes within this very dynamic and growing business environment. This important new legislative update makes the Indian operating environment more welcoming and will encourage more general aviation traffic to India.
This change came about as the result of a two-year cooperative effort among Indian officials, the Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the US-India Business Council (USIBC), the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and numerous international flight departments.

Future Impact

This important change promises to promote growth in business aviation access to India, according to the BAOA. India currently has the second-largest business aviation fleet in the Asia-Pacific region and is on track to be the third-largest aviation market in the world by 2020 based on passenger numbers. Various industry sources have predicted that business aviation to India will grow to more than 1,000 aircraft in the next 10 years; however, that will depend greatly on infrastructure and policy improvements. With this improvement in the clearance process now pending final regulatory definition, Indian authorities have clearly indicated their support and vision for the growth of business aviation in India.

Summing it all up

India’s move to shorten the permit approval process is a major step forward and demonstrates to the world that this region continues to evolve as an important, business aviation-friendly operating environment. The operating environment for business aviation in India has changed dramatically over the last two years. With proper pre-trip planning, a trip to India will become an even more straightforward and rewarding experience for operators. We commend Indian authorities for their willingness to consider and implement these changes.


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Lex den Herder has been with Universal since 1977 and has more than 35 years of experience in flight operations, ground handling operations, customer support and sales and marketing in business aviation. Lex currently serves as vice president, government and industry affairs for Universal, where he has been instrumental in helping educate government and civil aviation authorities around the world on the advantages of business aviation and how they can make their countries’ operating environments more business-aviation friendly. He also serves as Country Manager, Universal Aviation India – New Delhi. Lex played a key role in the recent decision by the Indian government to reduce the lead time needed to obtain landing and overflight permits. Lex relies on his network of global contacts built over the last three-plus decades, including corporate operators, civil aviation authorities, government officials and ground handling organizations to influence positive changes in operating requirements on behalf of the industry. Lex is a member of the National Business Aviation Association’s International Operator’s Committee and is a frequent speaker at industry associations around the world. A licensed Federal Aviation Administration dispatcher, Lex is a graduate of the Tulane University-Houston’s Freeman School of Business and the Rice University Executive Education Program. You can reach Lex at

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