Thought leadership from our experts

Deregistering and Exporting an Aircraft Under India’s Cape Town Convention Rules and Regulations

It is a well-known fact that for the last several years, India has been grappling with an abysmal track record as far as proper implementation of the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol are concerned.

2018 however, brought with it several beacons of hope in the form of a series of amendments or additions to Indias' rules and regulations in relation to de-registration and export of an Aircraft on the basis of an IDERA.

Up until earlier this month, it is reported that despite Rule 30(7) of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 stating that "The registration of an aircraft registered in India, to which the provisions of the Cape Town Convention and Cape Town Protocol apply, shall be cancelled by the Central Government, within five working days, without seeking consent or any document from the operator of the aircraft or any other person, if an application is received from the IDERA Holder along with…", yet, it was open knowledge that the Ministry of Civil Aviation had not issued any formal directions to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation ("DGCA") to act upon such power bestowed by Rule 30(7). As such, all matters were being referred to the Ministry for approval – resulting in a month-long saga – much more than the "five working days" as stipulated by the law.

This seems to have been rectified in so much as on the 15th of November 2018, the DGCA has issued an Aeronautical Information Circular or "AIC" No. 12 of 2018 which deals with "Standard Operating Procedure for Implementation of Rule 32A Relating to Export of Aircraft Covered under Cape Town Convention".

Apart from setting up the procedure to be followed following receipt of an application from an IDERA Holder, the AIC provides the format in which an IDERA Holder is to make an application to the DGCA for deregistration on the basis of an IDERA.

The application form can be found here.

The further procedure is as follows:

No. Step Action to be Taken
1 Application to the DGCA The IDERA Holder shall file an application as per the format given by the DGCA.
2 DGCA shall publish the fact and email all airports The DGCA shall immediately post the fact of the application being filed by the IDERA Holder on its website giving the date of receipt of the request, type, registration details and name of the operator. The DGCA shall also email all the “designated officers” of all the airport operators to the same extent.
3 DGCA shall de-register within 5 working days The DGCA shall de-register the Aircraft in accordance with Rule 30(7), i.e. within 5 working days of receipt of application from the IDERA Holder. It shall also email the date of such de-registration to all the “designated officers” of all the airport operators.
4 Airports shall calculate dues for 3 months preceding IDERA Holders application to DGCA The airport operators shall calculate the outstanding dues relating to the Aircraft in question (not of the fleet) for a period of 3 months immediately preceding the date of receipt of the application from the IDERA Holder – the date of “Declared Default”. Dues prior to this 3-month period are not to be included in the said calculations.
5 Airports to raise bills within 5 days The airport operators shall raise bills within 5 working days of receipt of the first email from the DGCA (step 3 above). The airport operator shall forward all such bills to the IDERA Holder by email with a copy of the DGCA and also indicate the relevant bank details to enable electronic payment.
6 Other Government entities may also raise bills Any other central government entity or any inter-governmental organisation in which India is a member, or other private provider of public services in India having any outstanding dues pertaining to the Aircraft in question (not of the fleet) may also raise its bills and intimate the DGCA within 5 working days from the date of receipt of the application from the IDERA Holder – the date of “Declared Default”. The DGCA shall inform the IDERA Holder by email about such liability only if received within 5 working days from the date of “Declared Default”. The DGCA shall not be responsible for any dues not notified to it within the specified period of 5 working days.
7 IDERA Holder to make payment The IDERA Holder, on receipt of any bills by email, may make the payment.
8 Payment Certificate to be issued by recipient Once payment is made by the IDERA Holder, the said person receiving payment shall issue a certificate to the IDERA Holder within 2 working days of receiving payment, stating that the bills raised by them have been cleared. Such certificate shall also be forwarded to the IDERA Holder via email with copy of the DGCA.
9 Certificates to be submitted to DGCA The IDERA Holder shall submit to the DGCA a copy of the certificate of payment of bills along with its request for permission to export the Aircraft from India.
10 DGCA shall issue permissions On receipt of such request, the DGCA shall issue the necessary permissions promptly as provided in Rule 32A.
11 IDERA Holder to write to airport operators for remaining dues On receiving permission from the DGCA, the IDERA Holder shall send an email to the concerned airport operator forwarding a copy of the DGCA’s permission and indicating the exact date of the flight out of India while also requesting a bill in respect to any dues accrued in relation to the Aircraft after the date of “Declared Default” up to the day of departure.
12 Airport operators to raise such bills The airport operator shall raise a bill for such dues within 1 working day and send the same to the IDERA Holder by email with copy to the DGCA along with all necessary bank details.
13 On making final payment, Aircraft can depart India unhindered Once the IDERA Holder makes the payment, the Aircraft may depart from India in accordance with the DGCA’s permission and no airport operator shall prevent the Aircraft from leaving India.