Government regulations hinder private jet industry: VistaJet

New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) VistaJet, the Switzerland-based luxury aviation company that operates private jets for top corporates and business honchos, thinks some government regulations are working against this niche sector's growth and should be re-looked at.

Thomas Flohr, founder and chairman of VistaJet, said some of the issues faced by private operators include delays in getting statutory clearances, lengthy paper works in all destinations of port and cash payment hurdles.

"Schedules of our clients who happen to be business heads are not known in advance, but the regulation says that there needs to be an application before a certain number of days (six days). This either delays the trip or cancels it," Flohr said in an interaction with IANS.

"We operate nearly 10 times the number of operations from Moscow than, compared to India. This is not because India is a smaller market but because of some regulations that hinder the private jet industry," Flohr said.

VistaJet is one of the fastest growing private jet operators in the world and is eying to expand presence in the fast-growing Indian market, which itself is growing between 10-15 percent year-on-year and is expected to reach a market size of Rs.1,600 crore ($290.90 million) by 2017.

Flohr said the company has had an interaction with government officials and that he was confident that some changes may take place.

The company recently placed the biggest order in business aviation history. It ordered for 142 aircraft which includes a firm order for 56 jets and an optional 86 more worth over $7.8 billion from Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.

Deliveries of these aircraft will begin in 2014.

"These jets and the current fleet is focussing on emerging countries such as India and China. Businessmen here know the value of time and as business expands to far and remote areas for setting up of plants or for natural resources, general aviation will grow," Flohr said, adding that the company provides point-to-point transportation across the globe at a short notice.

Indian corporates are the ones who are driving the growth of the sector as they travel to new markets for business and resources.

Data by the aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), show the private jet fleet in the country is between 135-155 out of a total of 1,146 aircraft.

The niche sector is also attracting all major aircraft manufacturers like Bombardier, Hawker Beechcraft, Dornier Seaplanes, Cessna, Gulfstream and Pacific Aerospace.

Apart from private jet operators, Indian business honchos too have bought their very own ride in the sky which can be worth anywhere between $4 million to $58 million. The owners' club includes the likes of DLF's K.P. Singh, Raymond's Gautam Singhania, Reliance Group's Mukesh Ambani and GMR group's G.M. Rao.

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