Govt to allow fractional ownership of business jets and helicopters

The civil aviation ministry has decided to allow fractional ownership of business jets and helicopters to spur the growth of non-scheduled operations in the country.

Fractional ownership of business planes and helicopters is akin to a timeshare holiday and will allow owners to fly a fixed number of hours per year based on their investment.

Charter companies offer jet card products that allow users to fly a fixed number of hours against an advance payment. Companies in India have offered fractional ownership models too, but these have not taken off as regulations do not allow for multiple ownership of an aircraft.

Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, on Monday, released the guidelines on fractional ownership to give a fillip to the sector. “Fractional ownership model has the potential to energise the non-scheduled operations segment by democratising ownership of aircraft,” he said.

Fractional ownership of planes is very popular in the US and Berkshire Hathway-owned NetJets, which is the largest private operator, operates over 800 aircraft. Unlike a jet card model, fractional ownership offers guaranteed aircraft availability, better charter rates and tax benefits to owners.

“We are awaiting further details from the government. We are very keen to launch a fractional ownership model,” said Jayant Nadkarni, managing director of Flight Shares Private Limited.

“Wealthy Indians have been buying jets in Dubai because of liberal ownership rules. These planes are operated by various aircraft management companies. The fractional ownership guidelines will encourage more aircraft purchase in India,” said Atiesh Mishra, director of AJM Jet Management.

Along with fractional ownership guidelines, Scindia announced two other initiatives. The helicopter emergency management system will be rolled out in a few weeks in partnership with AIIMS Rishikesh, Scindia said.

The government is also developing satellite-based flight routes for helicopters from Juhu airport to Pune and Juhu to offshore oil platforms. These will enable operations even in low visibility and during night. This will bring immense benefit especially to offshore industry because it will allow round the clock operations.

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