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‘Colonial era’ code in aircraft: Businessman moves Bombay High Court

According to ICAO rules, each aircraft has to be have a registration number, which has one or two letters as the country code, followed by three or four letters of the owner’s or the carrier’s choice.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
May 8, 2021 5:14:13 am
Bombay High Court, Maharashtra, hospital fire, Covid-19 treatment in Maharashtra, Mumbai news, indian expressThe Bombay High Court. (File)

Why should aircraft in India continue to use ‘VT’ (Victorian or Viceroy Territory) as their nationality or country code even after seven decades of the end of the colonial rule?

With this question in mind, Vijaypat Singhania, former chairman emeritus of Raymond Group and a registered pilot, along with Pune-based businessman Vijay Sethi, recently moved the Bombay High Court seeking directions to the Aviation Ministry to approach the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to get a new code or registration alphabets for all aircraft in the country.

The petition seeking new registration code ‘BH’ (short form for Bharat) or ‘MG’ (initials of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation) be used instead of ‘VT’ is expected to be heard after the summer vacation as the court is currently only hearing urgent matters due to Covid-19.

The code is generally seen right next to the rear exit door and above the windows of the aircraft.

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According to ICAO rules, each aircraft has to be have a registration number, which has one or two letters as the country code, followed by three or four letters of the owner’s or the carrier’s choice.

The plea by Singhania, 82, claimed, “VT is a sign of colonial repression by the British, which remains on the Indian aircraft…even today.”

The plea filed through advocates Asim Sarode and Ajinkya Udane said that for more than a decade, Singhania had been seeking removal of the ‘VT’ prefix. He said the Central Government had tried to get the code changed several times in the past, and replace it with IN (India) or HI (Hindustan), but none of these words were available with the ICAO.

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First published on: 08-05-2021 at 05:14:13 am

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