By: Sharmistha Mukherjee
Although US President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet industry leaders Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has banned business jets from flying in and out of New Delhi during his visit. This is the first time that civilian airspace has been blocked for business and general aviation aircraft — planes operated by non-scheduled or charter — for a three-day period around Republic Day.
A senior official of the Civil Aviation Ministry said, “A NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) has been issued banning all non-commercial flights out of Delhi till January 28.” The MHA directive restricts aircraft weighing less than 7,000 kg from flying between January 25 and January 27. The only exception has been made for Governors and CM who can fly in lighter aircraft in this period after MHA clearances.
Security agencies have extended the no-fly zone to a radius of 400 km to cover cities such as Jaipur, Agra, Lucknow and Amritsar till the border with Pakistan this year. Previously, the no-fly zone used to be limited to a 300-km radius.