Govt Amends Aircraft Rules to Foster Ease of Doing Business

In a significant development, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has amended the Aircraft Rules, 1937, to strengthen aviation safety and foster ease of doing business. Last year, the Ministry released the draft rules seeking inputs from the stakeholders and after considering the suggestions received, the finalised amendment rules were notified on October 10, 2023.

Some of the major changes introduced under the amendment rules are as follows: –

  • The period of validity of a Commercial Pilot’s License has been extended from 5 years to 10 years under Rule 39C(1).
  • Before renewal of licenses or ratings under Rule 42(1), the requirements of competency and recent experience for exercising the privileges of the license or rating as prescribed by the Director-General have to be completed.
  • With respect to false lights exhibited in the vicinity of aerodromes under Rule 66, it is specified that lights would include lantern kites, wish kites, laser lights, etc. and the government’s jurisdiction over those exhibiting such lights has been extended from 5 kilometres to 5 nautical miles around an aerodrome. Additionally, the government is empowered to take action against the display of lights that disrupt the aircraft’s safe operation and to extinguish the lights that remain unattended for 24 hours. The amendment rules also mandate that the matter should be promptly reported to the authorities if the light’s source is unidentifiable, or it shifts locations.
  • Rule 118 which provided for the validation of foreign licenses has been omitted, considering the same to be redundant.
  • If a person holding a current Air Traffic Controllers License cannot complete the prescribed recency or competency requirements due to insufficient movements or watch hours, such a person would have to complete a minimum of 10 hours of simulated exercises (including emergencies) and undergo the requisite skill assessment.