16 Mar Ground Handling & Aircraft Fuelling in India- What You Need to Know
Ground handling and aircraft fuel services in India continue to improve. However due to a lack of infrastructure, the country still poses some operational challenges.
Indian authorities are beginning to know the value of business aviation. They’re working to address these issues.
But operating to India is still quite complex. Operators should have realistic expectations. They shouldn’t try to operate without a handler or expect Western-style Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs).
The good news is that with proper planning and by simply keeping in mind the below tips, there is no reason a trip to India cannot operate smoothly.
- Use an experienced and trustworthy ground handler:
Attempting to operate to India without the assistance of a trusted and reliable ground handler is risky.
The authorities are often located at opposite ends of the airport. It would require an operator to be in more than one place at the same time.
It is always safest to have a ground handler because they will take care of all the requirements for you.
And most importantly, you will have a working relationship with the authorities to speed up service as much as possible in compliance with all laws and regulations.
- Do not expect Western-style FBOs. Prepare your passengers:
In February 2010, a new full-service FBO complete with a terminal & full ground-handling capabilities became operational in Mumbai, and Delhi.
However, it’s still not what passengers have come to expect in the United States and Europe. Passengers will go through immigration & customs clearance & get into local transport curbside.
They’ll typically go through the same customs, immigration and quarantine lines and area as airline passengers. However a good ground handler will try to speed up the process.
Vehicles aren’t permitted on-ramp, except your flight is carrying government or diplomatic officials. Crew will go through a similar process. They’re put on to their transport.
- Once you clear immigration, then budget extra time to return to the aircraft:
Before clearing customs and immigration, make sure that you have not forgotten anything. Once you clear, you won’t be allowed back on the ramp without a special pass.
This pass can take quite a while to obtain. Once you have cleared immigration, the aircraft will be sealed and cannot be re-entered without this pass.
- Remember: Maximum stay in India is fourteen days:
Always bear in mind that the maximum stay in India for a foreign-registered aircraft is fourteen days.
You’ll have to exit the country and return if you wish to remain in India more than the maximum allotted time.
For instance, if you’re in Chennai (VOMM), you may fly out to Colombo, Sri Lanka (VCBI), on the fourteenth day and then return on the same day.
- Set up your jet fuel authorizations in advance:
Jet fuel authorizations should be set up in advance. Jet fuel suppliers generally don’t accept credit. They want to be paid either with cash or demand draft.
Verify all jet fuel arrangements prior to arrival or departure. You can carry cash for unexpected eventualities. Your 3rd-party provider will arrange credit and make jet fuel payments on your behalf.
- Be prepared for fueling delays:
Keep in mind that there could be delays in fuel service in India. Reason being, jet fuel providers are more focused on airline operations than general aviation.
You cannot guarantee that fuel trucks will arrive on time. If you are requesting fueling on arrival, your ground handler will be notified in advance.
Crews often call their ground handler with a jet fuel request from top of descent.
As there’re no air-to-ground frequencies for ground local handlers within India, it is best to call your ground handler by SATCOM or phone prior to landing.
- Keep in mind that you would be taxed for jet fuel you uplift and jet fuel you have tankered:
Jet fuel taxes vary from airport to airport. They can be in the range of 2,800-3,000 (INR) per kiloliter (kl).
Jet fuel prices in India are set by the Petroleum Ministry. But, fees and taxes would vary among airports and India’s twenty six states.
If you land in India, and your next destination is a domestic flight, you will be charged tax at approximately twenty eight cents per gallon (this price may change) for any jet fuel uplifted.
But that will not be the case if your next destination is international. Also, tankering jet fuel might not be a good option if your next destination is a domestic one because additional fees might apply.
- Expect invoices to trickle in weeks and months later:
You may’ve completed your trip long ago but do not expect your invoicing to be ready. Often military airports do not send invoices until two to three months post-flight.
In addition, ground handling costs in India comprise of itemized charges for the full range of services used including lavatory, truck, and water services.
A ground handler would provide credit for all services and settle all invoices.
Undoubtedly, there’re countless interesting and surprising facts about aviation which can surprise you.
That’s the reason why Aviation Academy has come up with the list of the most amazing facts about aviation.
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We also assist and facilitate issuance of visas, temporary landing permits or TLP & give assistance for Immigration and Custom clearance.