India's ministry of civil aviation has abolished the Aircraft Acquisition Committee (AAC), making it easier for the nation's carriers to import aircraft.
"This decision is another major step towards liberalisation in the civil aviation sector after allowing 49% foreign direct investment [FDI] in airlines," the ministry said in a statement. "This will remove duplication and also reduce delays in seeking approval and will do away with the cumbersome procedure which airlines have to follow before acquisition of aircraft. The decision will help airlines to plan better for future induction of aircraft and also maintain timeliness of acquisition."
Media reports in India suggest that carriers welcome the move, as the AAC was generally viewed as an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy delaying the import of aircraft.
Carriers, flying schools and private parties importing aircraft will still need to complete licensing formalities with the directorate general of civil aviation.
A table issued in the ministry's statement showed that all 97 proposals to import aircraft made by airlines to the AAC between December 2011 and March 2013 were approved.
"Henceforth, only initial No Objection Certificate for operating scheduled air transport services and non-scheduled air transport services including regional air transport services, and in-principle approval for acquisition of aircraft by scheduled operators will be required from the ministry, as this is a requirement under Rules 134 and 134A of the Aircraft Rules and the Reserve Bank of India guidelines to facilitate acquisition of aircraft," the ministry says.