New rules
Domestic airlines can now import aircraft that are up to 18 years old into the country with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has made changes to rules that had come into effect way back in July 1993.

In this regard, changes have been made in the relevant norms or Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) effective from June 17.
Till now, aircraft that are more than 15 years old were not allowed to be imported.

Pressurised aircraft
With the revised norms, pressurised aircraft that are not over 18 years old or those which have not completed 50 per cent of design economic pressurisation cycle can be imported.
A pressurised aircraft is one which is equipped to handle cabin pressure at an altitude of above 10,000 feet.

“Aircraft intended to be imported for air cargo operations shall not have completed 25 years in age or 75 per cent of its design economic cycles or 45,000 landing cycles,” it noted.
The regulator also said that studies were conducted by international aviation community on the correlation between fatal accidents and age of the aircraft.
“Such studies have not clearly established that there is a correlation between accident rate and aircraft age up till 18 years,” it added.

Unpressurised aircraft
With respect to unpressurised aircraft, the decision would be taken on a case to case basis after examining the record of the plane that is to be procured from overseas.

Objective of new rule
The move is expected to provide a fillip for the government’s ambitious efforts to boost regional air connectivity as it gives more leeway for operators in expanding their fleet.