It’s Official: Lead Time Reduced for India Flight Permits

> and | May 16, 2013 | 4 Comments
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It's Official: Lead Time Reduced for India Flight Permits

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

Last month we announced the news that the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would be reducing the lead time to obtain Indian clearances in the official Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR). Effective May 13, the CAR has been published, and lead times have been reduced as follows:

  • India landing clearance – lead times reduced from seven days to three working days
  • India overflight clearance – lead times reduced from three days to one working day

Here is what you need to know about these changes:

1. Basic lead time changes

Please note that there are several varying requirements depending primarily on points of origin/destination, as well as some other new specifics. It is important that you review and become familiar with these requirements. We are expecting additional information to supplement and clarify the new CAR within the near future.

The following is a summary of the primary changes:

  • Landing clearances (for traffic purposes; i.e., business) – require a minimum of three working days
  • Technical stops – require a minimum of one working day advance notice
  • Overflight clearances – require a minimum notice of one working day

Note: No overflight clearance is required when the route isn’t overflying Indian landmass. These are primarily airways routing to the south of the Indian subcontinent.

2. Special considerations for Prior Reference Countries (PRCs)

Aircraft operating to or from a PRC (defined currently as Pakistan, China, North Korea, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran or Iraq) have special lead time requirements as follows:

  • Landing clearances – require seven days’ advance notice
  • Technical stops (non-business) – require three working days’ notice
  • Overflight clearances – require three working days’ notice

3. Clearance requirements to defense airfields remain the same

The lead times and requirements for defense airfields haven’t changed. The following is a synopsis of the lead times needed:

  • Air Force Bases (e.g., Agra, Pune) – still require 30 days’ advance notice
  • Navy Bases (e.g., Goa) – still require 20 days’ advance notice

4. Restrictions on transporting passengers and cargo intra-India

Paragraph 3.1.3 in the CAR states that foreign-registered non-scheduled flights are not permitted to pick up passengers/cargo at any place in India for disembarkation at any other place in India. This policy in the updated CAR refers to scheduled commercial operations and it’s not applicable to private non-revenue business flights. Hence, passengers and associates on a private non-scheduled flight can transport their associates within the country, but cargo (non-baggage) is discouraged.

5. Information needed for India landing and overflight permits

For India landing and overflight permit requests, you still need to provide information, such as the full schedule, operator and aircraft information. In addition to those items, you must provide names, nationalities, passport numbers with expiration dates and visas for all crew members and passengers. The same goes for passengers that are transported internally within India. It’s important to note that there have been some reports of issues with obtaining crew visas. For this reason, it’s best to speak to your 3rd-party provider for the latest information.

Note: At this time DGCA will accept permit applications that don’t have the visa information. However, we expect to receive an update from DGCA very soon, so it’s best to start preparing now for that requirement.

For the latest information on crew visa requirements, please see our article titled "Obtaining Crew Visas and Temporary Landing Permits for India – Process Has Been Streamlined."

6. Maximum time permitted on the ground

Maximum length of stay for a non-Indian-registered aircraft is 15 days; however, special permission can be obtained for extended stays. See Sections 3.4 and 8 of the regulation for more information. Note that there are considerations for airshows and demonstrations to prospective aircraft buyers.


Indian authorities are currently considering if there will be a fee to issue clearances. We expect to hear their decision within the near future. It’s recommended that you contact your 3rd-party provider to obtain more information on the reduced lead times and new requirements needed for obtaining Indian clearances.


If you have any questions about this article or need assistance in planning your next trip to India, please contact me at

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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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Rajan Mehra is an expert on business aviation operations to India served as Managing Director, Universal Aviation India – New Delhi until February 2015. Rajan played a key role in the decision by the Indian Government to reduce the lead time needed to obtain landing and overflight permits. Rajan, who is based in New Delhi, has spoken at numerous industry events representing business aviation.

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