India disbands government committee, eases aircraft acquisitions

March 22, 2013 at 6:24 AM
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NEW DELHI, March 22 (UPI) -- The Indian government has eliminated its committee to approve imports of aircraft, simplifying procedures for airlines to acquire planes.

Disbanding the Aviation Ministry's aircraft acquisition committee means carriers no longer will be required to wait indefinitely to get its approval to expand their fleets, the Times of India reported.

"Airlines decide their fleet size on commercial grounds. No airline will import planes if it does not feel the need to do so and there is no point in coming to us for seeking the nod to do so," Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said when announcing the decision.

"I have decided to cut the bureaucratic red tape surrounding aircraft acquisition that only used to cause delays. The directorate general of civil aviation checks planes for airworthiness, safety and there is no need for any other approvals from the ministry as far as fleet is concerned."

The decision came as various carriers had been complaining about bureaucratic delays at the aircraft acquisition committee. In some cases, the delays resulted in missing business opportunities, they said.

The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been pushing for simplifying the import procedure, the Times said. The government, in its efforts to encourage more foreign direct investments, wants to allow foreign airlines to invest in domestic carriers or launch joint ventures with Indian companies.

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