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Airports are without valid licences: report
Mumbai, OCT 22 (AGENCIES):
Published on 23 Oct. 2010 12:04 AM IST
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Over the years, airfares have increased significantly, but the crucial question remains if the city airports are actually legal. CNN-IBN has found more than 60 airports in India, many of them major international hubs, are without valid licences.
Major aerodromes in the country like Chennai, Kolkata, Goa and Ahmedabad, which are international airports seeing hundreds of domestic and international flights a day, are all functioning without valid aerodrome licences, as discovered by CNN-IBN.
This, despite the Aircraft Rules Act requiring that no aerodrome shall use a regular place of landing and departure unless it has been licensed for the purpose.
Aerodrome licensing is required by the DGCA to regulate safety standards. But information obtained through the Right To Information Act found that
* Only 16 out of around 87 airports that handle passenger and cargo traffic in the country have valid licences.
* Out of the country’s 12 major international airports, seven of them, including Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Goa - are not licensed, despite the DGCA’s stand that international aerodromes are to be given priority in the licensing procedure.
*International Civil Aviation Organisation guidelines had required all aerodromes used for international operations were to licensed by 2003.
Besides safety considerations, experts say insurance companies can even deny insurance in case a crash occurs at an unlicensed airport.
The Airports Authority of India in June had stated that licensing of 40 airports is underway, and the delay was due to time-consuming and voluminous data involved in the licensing procedure.
But sources in the DGCA say the licensing process that began in 2004 has been sidelined due to shortage of manpower.
The AAI and DGCA have said that operations at unlicensed airports are not compromised in any way in terms of safety. But experts feel a central regulatory body like the DGCA needs to maintain a strict system of checks and balances, with timely inspections, to make all stakeholders more comfortable with operations in this high-risk sector.

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