NEW DELHI: The regulations governing civilian helicopters in India are very restrictive and they make operation unviable at times, said Civil Aviation Secretary P S Kharola on Friday, adding that the government is working to ease these regulations so that the common man is benefitted.
"Somehow, what has happened is that the regulations which were meant for fixed-wing planes have just been applied with little modifications to the helicopters," he said during a webinar at 2nd Helicopter Summit-2020 organised by industry body FICCI.
"As a result of which, these regulations are very restrictive and at times, they even make the operation of helicopters unviable.
So the second sector we are working on is easing out these regulations so that the helicopters can be used for the benefit of the common man," he added.
In order to boost helicopter operations in India, the first sector that the Civil Aviation Ministry is focusing on is creating a network of heliports, the secretary said.
"There are certain places in South India too where movement with helicopters is very desirable and it is possible.
So, the first thing we are concentrating on is creating a network of heliports.
In this, we are getting full support from the state governments," Kharola said.
The three other aspects on which the ministry is working is to make helicopter operations viable in a way that it becomes affordable for passengers, reduce taxes on air turbine fuel (ATF) that is taxed at very high rates, and boost manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities for helicopters in India, Kharola said.
"Somehow helicopters have not seen the growth we have seen in fixed-wing planes in our country," he said.
"On the fixed planes side, the traffic has been growing 15-16 per cent during the last 10 years.
But helicopters somehow did not get to the right place so that they could grow," he said.
Helicopters are versatile machines and they are involved in various functions like rescue operations, emergency operations or medical evacuation operations, Kharola said.
Even now, helicopters are being used to fight the locust swarms which have come into the western part of the country, he added.
The government-owned Pawan Hans is currently the largest player in civil helicopter aviation in India.
It has a fleet of 43 helicopters, as per its website.