By Vaibhav Agrawal
On Tuesday, December 6, the Commerce Ministry unveiled an import warning list that reflected a sharp surge in the import of turbojets, helicopters and aircraft, into India’s aviation industry.
Advises of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), National Aerospace Laboratories, and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has been requested by the Aviation Ministry to determine what steps can be possibly taken for reducing the sharp rise in non-essential imports in response to the dramatic increase.
The data also reflects that the country’s total imports of powered aircraft with an unladen weight greater than 15,000 kg surged by 56.5 per cent from April to September as compared to the same period in the previous year.
The import of turbojets, those equipped with a thrust greater than 25 KN, further accelerated by 34% from April through September year over year. There was an increase of around 42% in the import of helicopters with an unladen weight of more than 2,000 kg, during the same time period.
As a result, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has instructed the DGCA to undertake apt actions for “bringing down the trade gap” by increasing exports and limiting imports. These issues, which are a part of the Commerce Ministry’s import warning list, have only been brought up with regards to purchases worth more than $200 million.
“It is both baffling and shocking to note that the government considers aircraft, helicopters and business jets as non-essential imports. This will leave an irreparable dent with Indian pilgrimage travel, the offshore oil and gas industry, charters operators and essential aerial services. Aircraft and helicopters are an imperative air transport medium that acts as a catalyst to economic growth and directly contributes back to the government in indirect taxes including VAT, Import Duty and GST.” – Mark Martin, CEO, Aviation Consultancy, Martin Consulting