Set to take off in Maharashtra: its own civil aviation policy

CM Devendra Fadnavis' chopper troubles prompt move

Written by Neha Kulkarni | Mumbai | Published: January 8, 2018 3:16 am
Set to take off in Maharashtra: its own civil aviation policy One of the major components of the policy would aim to bring uniform guidelines for flight operations under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).

The Maharashtra government is planning to draft an independent civil aviation policy to cover standard operating procedures for flight operations within the state. Likely to be proposed in the current quarter, the policy aims to standardise the protocol for helipads and heliports in use.

Officials believe drafting an independent policy on the guidelines of the national civil aviation policy would include nuances of flight operations specific to the state. One of the major components of the policy would aim to bring uniform guidelines for flight operations under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).

“We are planning to get a policy that will regulate flight operations in the state. It will further include details of the helipad locations and bring in standard operating procedures for landing and take-off operations of choppers. It will also include guidelines on the land strips to be used for flight operations for VVIP arrangements and other further instructions,” said Suresh Kakani, Chairman and Managing Director, Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC).

He added: “We are likely to float the tender for appointing a consultant in this regard within 15 days. The policy should be ready by February.”

The need for drafting such a policy was mooted after the choppers used by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis witnessed more than one accident. In May, the Sikorsky chopper carrying Fadnavis crash-landed in Nilanga, Latur. On December 9, the private chopper used by Fadnavis had to force-land soon after taking off from Nashik.

By December end, four airports under the RCS would become operational in Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Nanded and Nashik. Each of them would see a flight connectivity to Mumbai.

“Flight connectivity under the RCS would receive a great boost by next year. Bringing guidelines for flight operations, airports and airport operators remains a must. It will set a protocol for operation of flights under this rule to be referred by each of its stakeholders,” said Kakani.

He added that the policy might include guidelines on the nature of infrastructure that must be required in the airports for seaplane operations. “As amphibious planes are likely to see their take-off and landing in water bodies, the Maharashtra Maritime Board is working on drafting its rules. As far as using the airports for parking the planes is concerned, the civil aviation policy will include certain provisions,” said Kakani.

The policy will also include guidelines on flight connectivity to boost cargo trade in the state. While cargo is traded by non-scheduled planes at some airports in the state, including the one in Juhu, it will classify more airports to be used for the purpose.

CM’S Chopper: 4 Incidents In 2017

* May 12: CM Devendra Fadnavis could not use a helicopter to travel from Gadchiroli to Mumbai after it developed a technical snag
* May 25: A state-owned helicopter carrying Fadnavis crash-landed at Nilanga near Latur minutes after taking off
* July 7: CM had a narrow escape in Alibaug when a chopper he was about to board took off before he could get in
* December 9: Fadnavis’s chopper force-landed soon after taking off as it was overloaded

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