NEW DELHI: From next year onwards, scheduled flight operations will be allowed from defence airports only if they have been certified by DGCA, according to the civil aviation ministry. With certain issues still to be sorted out between civil aviation and defence ministries, the deadline has been extended to December 31, 2017, a senior DGCA official said.
The initial deadline lapsed on December 31, 2016. In a notification issued earlier this month, the civil aviation ministry said scheduled flight operations will not be permitted from any airport, including defence aerodromes, from December 31, 2017, unless such aerodromes have been certified by the DGCA.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory body governing safety aspects of civil aviation and approves flight schedules, among others. "... no person shall operate scheduled air transport services to and from an aerodrome, including defence aerodromes, with effect from December 31, 2017 unless it has been either licensed (aerodrome) or certified (defence aerodrome) by the director general of civil aviation," the notification said.
For certification, DGCA will have to check and ensure the safety of airstrips and related facilities, including air traffic control (ATC), at defence aerodromes. Besides, the regulator should have access to areas and aspects related to scheduled carrier services.
Discussions are going on among officials of the ministries to sort out the issues and hence the deadline has been extended, the DGCA official reasoned. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) manages 125 aerodromes, including 25 civil enclaves at defence airfields, as per its website.