Business Aircraft Ops to India: Airport Options
This business aviation blog post is the first in a series on operating in India.
General Aviation (GA) operators routinely travel to India for both business and tourism. We’ve seen tremendous increases in GA operations to the country over recent years due primarily to growth in business opportunities. To maximize efficiency and flexibility of flight operations to the Indian subcontinent, it’s important to work closely with your 3rd-party provider and local ground handlers.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Popular airports in India
Some of the most popular destination airports in India include Delhi (VIDP), Mumbai (VABB), Bangalore (VOBL), Varanasi (VIBN), Amritsar (VIAR), Guwahati (VEGT), Chennai (VOMM), Kolkata (VECC), Hyderabad (VOHS), Ahmedabad (VAAH), Agra (VIAG), Udaipur (VAUD), Nagpur (VANP), Pune (VAPO), Chandigarh (VICG), and Goa (VOGO). In addition to increased traffic to major Airports of Entry (AOEs), we’re also seeing continued growth in movements to joint-use civilian/military airfields.
2. Airport curfews/restrictions
While there are several 24-hour airports in India – including VIDP, VABB, VOBL, VOMM, and VECC – most airports are not 24/7 operations. Be advised that even major AOEs have certain GA restrictions in place. For example at VABB GA operations are not permitted 0800-1000 and 1730-1930 local. At smaller airports across the country, night operating curfews are a fact of life. Notices to airmen are also issued from time to time which impact and/or restrict GA movements at particular airfields.
3. Airport overtime
Some Indian airports – but not all – offer overtime to extend operating hours. To request overtime, send a request, via your ground handler, at least three business days in advance. If overtime is accepted, you’ll be liable for applicable airport overtime charges. Note that ground handlers in India do not usually charge overtime premiums when handling outside of normal hours. It’s recommended that you confirm this with your ground handler.
4. Airport distance to city centers
Many major airports in India are located in or close to city centers. While some had been well outside metro areas in the past, growth and expansion of various cities have extended many metro areas closer to airports. For example both VIDP and VAAB are now considered part of metro Delhi and Mumbai, respectively. In other cases airports are located well outside city centers. For example VOBL and VOHS are 20-30 km outside the centers with drive times varying depending on road congestion. While VIDP is a 30-40-minute drive from the central business district, it can take an hour or longer to commute from VOBL or VOHS to the city center. If you are considering road travel to/from respective cities in India, it’s recommended that you speak with your 3rd-party provider.
5. No noise restrictions
Currently, there are no noise restrictions for operations to any airport in India. These rules, however, could change at a moment’s notice. For example VIDP had Stage 2 operating limitations in effect in the past, but these restrictions are no longer applicable.
6. GA operations limited to 14 days
Be aware that foreign-registered aircraft may only remain in India a maximum of 14 consecutive days. If you need to stay longer and do not have an official invitation from the government, you’ll need to depart the country by the 14th day and return (on the same day) to start the 14-day clock over again. Preferred options for reposition and return flights include Sri Lanka and Nepal as landing permit processes have short lead times in those countries. Be mindful, however, that when repositioning outside the country, you’ll need a new landing permit to return to India.
7. Additional reading: Business Aircraft Ops to India – Series Index
Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.
- Part 1 – Airport options
- Part 2 – Airport operations
- Part 3 – Ground handling
- Part 4 – Additional services and operating costs
- Part 5 – Fuel and security
- Part 6 – CIQ
- Part 7 – Permit considerations
- Part 8 – Slots and military operations
- Part 9 – Flight planning
- Part 10 – Weather and additional flight planning information
- Part 11 – Hotel and local area
Though some airports are 24-hours, this is not the case for others. It’s recommended to confirm operating hours and overtime possibilities for your destination. Due to congestion it’s always best to check on the average time to and from the airport to avoid delays for your crew and passengers.
Later, we’ll discuss airport operations for India and their impact on your trip.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to India, contact Christine Vamvakas at email@example.com.