The government has amended the Aircraft Rules (1937) in a significant step towards enhancing safety, security and ease of doing business in the aviation sector.
Officially notified in the Gazette on 10 October 2023, this amendment follows consultation with industry stakeholders and aims to bring Indian aviation regulations in line with international standards.
One noteworthy change is the revision of rule 39C, which extends the validity of airline transport pilot licences and commercial pilot licences from five to 10 years. This modification is expected to simplify procedures and reduce administrative burdens.
Additionally, rule 118 for validating foreign licences has been removed as it was deemed redundant, reflecting adaptability to the sector’s evolving needs.
The amendment also addresses concerns about “false lights” near aerodromes, expanding the government’s jurisdiction from five kilometres to five nautical miles (9.26km) around an aerodrome. The government may act against individuals displaying lights that disrupt aircraft operations or endanger crew safety. If unattended for 24 hours, the government can intervene and report the matter to police for potential legal action under the Indian Penal Code.
The amendment introduces flexibility for air traffic controller licence holders by liberalising recency and competency requirements. Controllers must complete at least 10 hours of simulated exercises, including emergencies, and undergo a skills assessment for their rating within 10 days of initiating the exercises.