Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dedicated airports for private jets in India: Coming soon?

business jetWe've been hearing for some time about the recent explosive growth of commercial aviation in India. There are down sides to this rapid growth, ranging from an acute shortage of pilots to serious congestion at major airports.

Contributing to the airport congestion problem is a parallel growth in the number of corporate aircraft and business jet charters in India. This trend is not likely to subside, as it reflects a worldwide increase in business aviation. reports that one solution to the airport congestion problem under consideration is to dedicate some airports in major cities in India solely for the use of private jets.
Industry sources say that private jets account for about 10% of the landings in Mumbai and New Delhi and 5% in Bangalore. "These occupy parking space and longer runway time to take off. So for the sake of a few passengers, thousands are held up," says [civil aviation ministry secretary K.N.] Shrivastava.

Having separate facilities for charter operators would ease the pressure on existing airports, which are already bursting at the seams trying to cope with the rapid expansion of the commercial aviation market over the past few years.

It would also be good news for private jet operators, which would benefit from lower landing and associated costs at secondary airports.

There would also be dedicated customs and immigration facilities for passengers, especially since there are no fixed-base operations in the country.'s sources say that Juhu, on the outskirts of Mumbai, has been identified as the first location and that areas around Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi are being considered as well. Some doubt, however, that the civil aviation ministry would be willing to allocate funds for the development of airports for this purpose, since they would benefit relatively few users. Another idea being considered would be to allow private companies with experience in business aviation to lease and operate airports dedicated to business aviation.

In any case, something needs to be done about the reported shortage of parking spaces, hangars and services for business aircraft in India. The growth trend in that sector of the industry is not likely to abate any time soon.

[Photo Source]