Apparently the Indian civil aviation ministry has amended the Aircraft Rules 1937 that governs inter alia the registration of aircraft in India The objective of the change is to bring the aircraft de-registration practice in India in conformity with the Cape Town Convention & Protocol 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 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 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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