Apparently the Indian civil aviation ministry has amended the Aircraft Rules 1937 that governs inter alia the registration of aircraft in India http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/relief-for-lessors-as-government-makes-it-easier-to-deregister-planes-115022601178_1.html. The objective of the change is to bring the aircraft de-registration practice in India in conformity with the Cape Town Convention & Protocol http://www.unidroit.org/instruments/security-interests/cape-town-convention. The amendment codifies the fact that the Indian civil aviation authority has to de-register i.e. cancel the registration upon first demand by the owner/lessor/designated party under the Cape Town Convention & Protocol. This change should now, after (too) many years, should make it possible for owners/lessors that have had aircraft “stuck” in India a/o with an Indian registration, to (finally) de-register their aircraft and bring it back home. This change comes after ruling(s) by the Delhi High Court where it was decided that the owner/lessors were entitled to de-register their aircraft(s).

While the amendment of the Aircraft Rules 1937 is being presented as a domestic adaption to facilitate the implementation of the Cape Town Convention & Protocol, I see it more as a “face-saving” strategy by the Indian government to justify their flagrant Convention violations over the years by refusing the de-register a great number of (foreign owned) aircrafts in India. These violations were unnecessary because based on general principles of law the Convention trumps the domestic legislation a/o based on the fact that the Indian government failed to act within the spirit of the Convention. In my opinion the http://dgca.nic.in caused great damage to the reputation of India in the eyes of aircraft owners/leasing companies/financiers but also in the eyes of other civil aviation authorities the business aviation industry in general.

The proof is in the pudding, I guess soon we will know if India a/o http://dgca.nic.in will hold their end of the bargain and actually comply with all the de-registrations request on file and those that are being filed as we speak. If that happens at least India can hope on getting – at least – some goodwill back from the industry, whether that will mean that owners and leasing companies will send their aircraft back into India remains to be seen.

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