DGCA Relaxes The Application Process for Heliport Licenses

Radhika Bansal

31 May 2023

Aviation regulator DGCA has simplified the application process for heliport licenses, and applicants can now seek clearances through a single window on the regulator's portal. Before submitting online applications for heliport licenses, applicants had to seek NOC (No Objection Certificate)/ clearance from five entities.

The entities are the home ministry, defence ministry, environment and forest ministry, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the local administration concerned. Now, the applications for NOC/ clearance can be routed to the five entities through a single window provided on the eGCA portal, an official release said on Tuesday.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grants heliport license/ operational authorisation to the heliports at the surface level and at elevated/rooftop buildings in compliance with the aircraft rules.

Before submitting the online applications, applicants were required to apply to the following five organizations online or physically to obtain NOC or Clearance Ministry of Home, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Airport Authority of India and Local Administration.

Applicants are required to submit an online application through the regulator's eGCA portal. Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia has laid a special focus on ease of doing business. The eGCA (e-Governance in Directorate General of Civil Aviation) portal was launched in November 2021 to enhance the efficiency of the various services provided by the civil aviation regulator DGCA.

DGCA is the nodal authority that grants Heliport Licenses or Operational Authorization to the heliports at the surface level as well as at elevated levels, in compliance with Aircraft Rules and the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR). Interested applicants seeking a licence must submit an online application to DGCA through the eGCA portal.

UDAN 5.1 To Bolster Connectivity Through Helicopters In Remote Areas

In a bid to bolster connectivity and ensure seamless access to remote areas across the nation, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, on May 24, unveiled UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) 5.1. Building upon the success of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)- UDAN through four previous rounds, and with the ongoing implementation of the fifth round (version 5.0), the latest initiative takes a stride forward by incorporating helicopters to achieve last-mile connectivity.

According to an official statement, for the first time under RCS-UDAN, this round is designed specifically for helicopter routes. UDAN 5.1 introduces several notable features to enhance connectivity and accessibility across the country. UDAN 5.1, developed after consultations with stakeholders including helicopter operators, aims to provide last-mile connectivity and boost the Indian civil aviation industry's helicopter segment.

The current version of the scheme has been designed after consultations with all stakeholders including helicopter operators. While the intended target is to provide last-mile connectivity, it is also projected to give the helicopter segment of the Indian civil aviation industry a much-needed boost, the release said. To date, 46 helicopter routes have been operationalised under previous rounds of the scheme, benefitting several hilly and North East states. The release further noted that This round targets coverage of a much larger number of routes. At present, there are only around 280 civilian choppers in India which are used in various sectors.

Under the UDAN scheme passengers have received the benefit of air connectivity, airlines have received concessions for operating regional routes, and unserved regions have received the direct and indirect benefits of air connectivity for their economic development. The present version of the scheme will be another step towards the Prime Minister's vision of allowing the common man to travel by air at affordable fares to remote destinations of the country.

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Boeing Ups 787 Dreamliner Production Rate from Three to Four

Abhishek Nayar

31 May 2023

In recent years, the aviation industry has grown significantly, with airlines all over the world pursuing more fuel-efficient and technologically sophisticated aircraft. Boeing Co. has announced an increase in production and plans to expand its Charleston, South Carolina, facilities in order to fulfil the increased demand for its widebody 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The decision comes as the aerospace company works to deliver orders and preserve its position as an industry leader.

Boeing Boosts 787 Dreamliner Production

Boeing has chosen to increase the monthly production rate of its 787 Dreamliner from three to four aircraft. This increase will enable the corporation to satisfy current demand while also reducing order backlogs. Boeing, on the other hand, has even more ambitious plans for the future, hoping to increase production to five jets per month by the end of the year. After producing Dreamliners at a slower pace earlier in the year, the firm stated in April that it had stabilized 787 production at three aircraft per month. The decision to boost production is based on market data and consumer feedback, which show that the 787 Dreamliner is in high demand. Boeing can better meet the demands of its customers and secure its market position by increasing output. Boeing has stated that it intends to deliver 70 to 80 of these aircraft in 2023.

Charleston, South Carolina, Production Facility Expansion

Boeing intends to establish a second manufacturing line at its Charleston, South Carolina, facilities to handle the higher production pace. This extension will offer the capacity and infrastructure required to accommodate the increased output. Additionally, the business is working on updating inventory on 787s at the Charleston location to satisfy the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) safety regulations. The modification involves fixing miniscule gaps in the forward pressure bulkhead that exceed specifications. Boeing's manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington, where 787s are also being modified to meet FAA standards, will continue to do so, according to Ballard. Lane Ballard, Boeing's vice president and general manager for the 787 programme, indicated that the changes are necessary to guarantee compliance with FAA requirements. The firm is committed to providing its clients with safe and dependable aircraft, and these upgrades will help them reach that aim. Ballard made the announcement while taking reporters on a tour of the company's Charleston production site, only two months after Boeing announced a major order for over 200 Dreamliners.

Benefits of Increased Production

Boeing and its stakeholders will benefit from the decision to boost production in various ways. For starters, it enables the corporation to satisfy growing client demand for the 787 Dreamliner. Airlines are looking for more efficient and comfortable aircraft, and the technological features of the Dreamliner make it an appealing option. Boeing can ensure timely delivery and customer satisfaction by increasing output. Furthermore, increased production will benefit Boeing's financial performance. As more aircraft are delivered, the corporation generates additional revenue and improves its profitability. This increases its market position and provides the resources required for future research and development initiatives.

Considerations and Challenges

While boosting production is an important milestone for Boeing, it also brings with it some novel concerns and considerations. Supply chain management is one of the most important elements. Boeing relies on a complex network of suppliers to supply the Dreamliner with the essential components and materials. To minimize production delays or disruptions, it is critical to manage the increased volume and provide a continuous supply. Another factor to consider is labor training and competence. The increasing output requires a competent workforce capable of satisfying the increased demand. To achieve a seamless transition to increased production levels, Boeing will need to invest in training programmes and expand its workforce.

Positive Impact on the Aerospace Industry

The move by Boeing to enhance production and expand its facilities has larger implications for the aerospace sector. For starters, it directly and indirectly provides employment possibilities as the firm recruits additional personnel and supports economic growth in the communities where its facilities are situated. This employment generation has a good impact on the surrounding communities, assisting companies and raising living standards. Furthermore, higher manufacturing strengthens Boeing's global competitiveness. As the demand for aircraft grows, Boeing gains a competitive edge by being able to satisfy that demand while still delivering high-quality products. This assists the firm in securing new orders and maintaining its position as an industry leader.


Boeing's decision to boost the 787 Dreamliner production pace and expand its facilities in Charleston, South Carolina, illustrates the company's commitment to satisfying customer demand and enhancing its market position. Boeing intends to meet rising demand for its fuel-efficient and technologically sophisticated aircraft by increasing output and building a second production line. The increased manufacturing not only benefits Boeing, but it also benefits the whole aerospace sector. It generates job opportunities, promotes economic growth, and boosts global competitiveness. Boeing's position as a prominent player in the aviation sector is strengthened as it continues to deliver more Dreamliners.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Air Canada's Partnership with PAL Airlines: Boosting Regional Capacity and Connectivity

Abhishek Nayar

31 May 2023

The aviation industry constantly evolves, with airlines seeking novel approaches to expand their reach while offering improved services to passengers. Air Canada, one of Canada's premier airlines, has long been dedicated to expanding its regional network. Air Canada has entered into a deal with PAL Airlines, a regional carrier operating primarily in eastern Canada, to achieve this objective.

Air Canada's Partnership with PAL Airlines

Air Canada has established a partnership with PAL Airlines, clearing the path for additional capacity and improved connectivity in its regional network. The two airlines' strategic alliance intends to boost Air Canada's position in eastern Canada by offering passengers additional flying options and seamless travel experiences. Under the stipulations of the agreement, PAL Airlines will acquire up to six De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft, which will be operated under the Air Canada Express name for up to five years. Air Canada may now benefit from PAL Airlines' experience and regional presence, effectively extending its capacity in eastern Canada. PAL Airlines President Calvin Ash stated, "PAL Airlines has steadily expanded its extensive presence in Eastern and Atlantic Canada by focusing on the strategic expansion of sustainable, essential services that connect to national carrier networks." This planned deal with Air Canada is a natural continuation of that strategy. It would allow us to expand our operations further, improve our capacity to enhance regional connectivity, and strengthen PAL Airlines' footprint in the areas that have always been supportive of our expansion."

The Details of the Agreement

Acquisition of De Havilland Dash 8-400s

PAL Airlines' promise of acquiring up to six De Havilland Dash 8-400s demonstrates their commitment to expanding their fleet and service capabilities. These contemporary, fuel-efficient aircraft are ideal for regional flights, providing a good blend of passenger comfort and operational efficiency.

Operation Under Air Canada Express

After acquiring the aircraft, PAL Airlines will operate them under the Air Canada Express brand. This agreement enables Air Canada to benefit from PAL Airlines' operational expertise, resulting in a seamless and consistent travel experience for passengers on both airlines.

Eastern Canada Routes

The arrangement focuses mostly on flights in eastern Canada, where PAL Airlines has a substantial presence. Air Canada hopes that by adding these flights to its regional network, it will give passengers enhanced connections and easy travel alternatives to numerous locations around the area.

Advantages of the Agreement

The partnership between Air Canada and PAL Airlines provides various advantages to both airlines and customers.

Enhanced Capacity

Air Canada can accommodate a larger volume of passengers by adding up to six De Havilland Dash 8-400s to its regional network. This enhanced capacity allows more people to travel comfortably and conveniently, even to rural parts of eastern Canada.

Regional Network Enhancement

This arrangement will have a substantial impact on Air Canada's regional network. The acquisition of PAL Airlines flights broadens Air Canada's reach, allowing it to serve a greater choice of destinations and communities in eastern Canada.

Increased Connectivity

Passengers will benefit from enhanced connections between several eastern Canadian cities and communities. Air Canada and PAL Airlines' partnership means that travellers may easily visit different locations without having to make several transfers or layovers. This seamless travel experience improves the comfort and flexibility of travelers' trips.

Passengers' Experience

The deal between Air Canada and PAL Airlines directly affects customers, providing them with a slew of advantages and opportunities.

Additional Flight Options

Passengers may expect more travel options now that PAL Airlines has joined forces with Air Canada. The new aircraft and routes contribute to a more extended flight schedule, giving travellers a larger selection of departure times and destinations within eastern Canada.

Convenience and Flexibility

Passengers will benefit from additional convenience and flexibility as a result of the improved connection and enlarged regional network. Whether travelling for work or pleasure, customers can choose the best flights based on their schedules and preferences, making their travel experiences more personalized and convenient.

Traveling Effortlessly

This agreement reinforces Air Canada's commitment to offering a smooth travel experience. Passengers may switch between Air Canada and PAL Airlines flights with ease, maintaining the same level of service, comfort, and reliability throughout their journey. This agreement guarantees that travellers have a uniform travel experience from the time they buy their tickets until they arrive at their final destination.


The agreement signed between Air Canada and PAL Airlines is a significant step forward in the growth of the airline's regional network. The acquisition of up to six De Havilland Dash 8-400s, which will be operated under the Air Canada Express brand, would increase the airline's capacity and connectivity in eastern Canada. Passengers will benefit from more flight alternatives, more convenience, and more seamless travel experiences. This strategic relationship emphasizes the importance of regional partnerships in the aviation sector, which will eventually result in a better travel ecosystem for everybody.

With Inputs from Market Watch

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New York Area Airports Crossed Pre-Pandemic Traffic in April

Abhishek Nayar

31 May 2023

When it comes to gauging the health of the aviation industry, monitoring airport traffic statistics is critical. It serves as a barometer for evaluating activity levels and gives significant insights into the industry's recovery process. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently announced April traffic figures for the region's three major airports, JFK, EWR, and LGA. These figures reflect a noteworthy surge in international travel demand and provide encouraging indicators for the industry's recovery.

A Brief Overview of the Three Airports

Before we get into the intricacies of the traffic data, allow us to become acquainted with the three airports in question. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is located in Queens, New York, and is one of the busiest airports in the United States. It is an important hub for both domestic and international travel. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), in Newark, New Jersey, is another major hub serving the New York metropolitan region. Finally, LaGuardia Airport (LGA), which is situated in Queens, is well-known for its closeness to Manhattan and is a popular alternative for domestic travelers.

Detailed Passenger Numbers for Each Airport

During April, the three main airports, JFK, EWR, and LGA, welcomed an outstanding total of twelve million passengers. This enormous statistic indicates a crucial milestone in the aviation industry's continued recovery, indicating an upward trend following the pandemic-induced depression. The John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Airport, and LaGuardia Airport all exceeded passenger traffic levels by 1%, 6%, and 3%, respectively, compared to the previous month's pre-pandemic April 2019. JFK served 5.2 million passengers, Newark served 4.2 million, and LaGuardia served 2.7 million. The Port Authority's commercial airports likewise broke their previous record high for any first quarter in 2023 during the first quarter of 2023. Between January and March, the three airports handled 32 million people. This figure represented a roughly one million passenger increase over the same period in 2019, the previous pre-pandemic record. Newark and LaGuardia airports, in particular, broke new first-quarter records with 11.1 million and 7.2 million passengers, respectively (their previous marks were 10.4 million and 6.7 million in 2019). The Transportation Security Administration recorded 2.74 million passengers on Friday, May 26. This is a 6.7% increase over pre-pandemic numbers.

Factors Influencing Passenger Volume Increase

A number of factors have contributed to the increase in passenger flow at New York airports:

International Flight Resumption: Due to the relaxation of travel restrictions and the reopening of borders in several countries, airlines have been able to resume a substantial number of international flights. This has given travellers additional alternatives and boosted their desire to fly.

Vaccine Rollout and Travel Restrictions: The effective rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has boosted traveller trust and played a critical role in relaxing pandemic-imposed travel restrictions. Vaccinated people now have more flexibility to travel, resulting in a rise in passenger numbers.


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's April 2023 traffic figures exhibit a positive trend in the aviation industry's comeback. The 8% rise in international travelers at JFK, EWR, and LGA airports demonstrates increased passenger confidence. With JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia airports breaking their prior April 2019 records, it is clear that air travel is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels. These figures demonstrate the airports' resiliency and the aviation industry's perseverance. As the travel sector continues to recover and adapt, airports' dedication to passenger safety and comfort remains vital. With the implementation of strengthened safety standards, the reinstatement of aircraft schedules, and continued immunisation efforts, the future of domestic and international travel appears bright.

With Inputs from Cirium

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Qantas to Setup Largest Climate Fund in the World

Abhishek Nayar

31 May 2023

Climate change is a pressing global issue that demands cross-industry collaboration. Recognizing the need to actively contribute to environmental sustainability, the Qantas Group established the Qantas Climate Fund. This fund will provide critical assistance to initiatives and technologies that reduce emissions and help the Group meet its ambitious ecological targets.

The Qantas Climate Fund: An Overview

The Qantas Group, one of the world's premier airlines, has announced the foundation of the Qantas Climate Fund, a significant step towards combating climate change. This ground-breaking initiative, announced at the Group's Investor Strategy Day, aims to allocate AUD$400 million in direct investments in sustainability initiatives and technological advances. The Qantas Climate Fund, the world's largest aviation fund of its type, illustrates the airline's commitment to minimizing emissions while fostering a sustainable future. As it progresses towards net zero emissions by 2050, the airline has pledged to minimizing carbon emissions by 25% by 2030 (based on 2019 levels) while employing 10% SAF in the Group's fuel mix by 2030. The airline is seeking expressions of interest from businesses and industries interested in seeking funding.

Addressing Emissions Reduction Targets

The Vitality of Sustainability Projects and Technologies

To prevent the negative consequences of climate change, it is critical to adopt sustainability programmes and technology across all industries. The aviation sector, which accounts for a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions, must actively seek carbon-reduction methods. The Qantas Climate Fund recognizes this need and works to sponsor efforts that reduce emissions.

The Importance of Direct Investments

Qantas emphasizes the value of proactive engagement in sustainability programmes by establishing a climate fund dedicated to direct investments. Direct investments offer the resources required for the development and implementation of cutting-edge technology, allowing the aviation sector to move towards a more sustainable future. The Qantas Climate Fund is a real move taken by the airline to assist and expedite the implementation of these solutions.

The Qantas-Airbus Partnership

Accelerating the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Industry

Qantas formed a historic agreement with Airbus in 2022, spending AUD$290 million to accelerate the formation of a domestic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia. This alliance intends to revolutionize aviation fuel manufacturing by concentrating on environmentally friendly options that dramatically minimize emissions. The Qantas Climate Fund will continue to support this collaboration, helping to foster growth in the SAF industry and ensure a sustainable supply chain.

Domestic Impact and Global Leadership

The partnership between Qantas and Airbus helps not only the domestic aviation sector but also positions Australia as a worldwide leader in sustainable aviation. By investing in local SAF manufacturing, the alliance helps to create jobs, promote technology, and lower Australia's carbon footprint. This joint endeavor exemplifies the Qantas Group's commitment to environmental leadership and serves as an example for the global aviation sector.

Calling for a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Mandate

SAF is the most important technique now available to airlines for reducing emissions, especially because it can be employed in today's engines and fuel supply infrastructure with no changes. Qantas is now acquiring SAF from international suppliers, including 10 million litres for flights out of London in 2023 and 20 million liters annually for flights out of California beginning in 2025. However, Australia lacks a local commercial-scale SAF industry. Domestically produced SAF will play an important role in the Qantas Group achieving its objective to use 10% SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030 and 60% by 2050. To help initiate SAF production in Australia, the Group is calling on the Australian Government to implement a SAF blending mandate as part of a larger framework of industry policies, similar to those already announced in other jurisdictions. The United Kingdom, Europe, and Japan have set or proposed mandates ranging from 5% to 10% to be achieved by the end of the decade, while the United States has set a 2030 production target of 3 billion gallons per year.

Additional Environmental Initiatives

Aside from the collaboration with Airbus, the Qantas Climate Fund will invest AUD$110 million in other environmental projects. These programmes address multiple facets of sustainability and attempt to influence change within the aviation industry. Among the prominent efforts are:

High-Integrity Carbon Offsets

The Qantas Climate Fund will invest in high-integrity carbon offset initiatives to offset unavoidable emissions. These programmes follow tight regulations and guidelines to ensure that emissions are properly balanced by activities including reforestation, renewable energy initiatives, and sustainable land management practices. The fund's support for high-integrity carbon offsets reflects its dedication to genuine mitigation of emissions.

Offshore Sustainable Aviation Fuel Investments

The Qantas Climate Fund will invest in offshore sustainable aviation fuel projects to help accelerate the global transition to sustainable aviation. Qantas hopes to accelerate the global adoption of sustainable fuel alternatives by providing monetary assistance for international initiatives. This investment will fuel technical improvements and help make the aviation sector more sustainable across the world.

Operational Efficiency Technologies

In the aviation industry, operational efficiency is a major component of minimizing emissions. The Qantas Climate Fund will invest in the research and deployment of operational efficiency technology. These technologies include a variety of breakthroughs, such as enhanced aircraft systems, optimized flight planning, and enhancements to ground operations. Qantas seeks to mitigate its environmental impact and increase sustainability by prioritizing operational efficiency.


As part of the airline's 2023 Investor Day, Qantas Group Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Parker announced the increased sustainability investment. "Managing climate change is now built into how we do business and is a key part of our strategy through 2030 and beyond," said Mr. Parker. "With sustainable aviation fuel powering our flights out of London, more fuel-efficient aircraft arriving every month, and a mature carbon offset programme, we have already made progress towards our interim climate targets." "We must accelerate these efforts if we are to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050." "We look forward to working with the government and the rest of the industry to make the most of this opportunity for Australia."


The Qantas Climate Fund demonstrates the Qantas Group's commitment to environmental sustainability. This ground-breaking fund will support sustainability initiatives and technology with a substantial investment of AUD$400 million, establishing Qantas as a worldwide leader in the battle against climate change. Qantas aspires to meet its emissions reduction objectives while also supporting a cleaner aviation sector by committing resources to the development and implementation of new solutions.

With Inputs from Qantas

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Riyadh Air In talks to Induct Boeing B737 MAX Aircraft

Radhika Bansal

30 May 2023

Boeing is working on a deal to sell at least 150 737 Max jetliners to Saudi Arabian startup Riyadh Air, Bloomberg News reported. The new carrier, wholly owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), is looking for about 300 to 400 single-aisle jets in total, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. Airbus SE could also claim a part of the order, the report added.

Boeing declined to comment, while Riyadh Air and PIF did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. Boeing previously won another order from state-owned airline Saudia and Riyadh Air for a combined 78 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the fifth-largest commercial order by value in the plane maker's history.

Owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), Riyadh Air said it will purchase 39 highly efficient 787-9s, with options for an additional 33 787-9s. Based in the capital city, Riyadh Air will play a key role in growing Saudi Arabia's air transport network. The Dreamliner aircraft will be equipped with General Electric’s GEnex engines. This is Boeing's fifth biggest order historically after a massive order by Air India last month.

The first deliveries of the widebody aircraft are scheduled for early 2025. Riyadh Air will be a digitally-led full-service airline with a commitment to sustainability reflecting Saudi Arabia’s transformative projects under Vision 2030. It will operate in line with the country’s strides toward net zero emissions.

Riyadh Air is wholly owned by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has more than USD 600 billion in assets and is the main driver of the kingdom's efforts to wean itself off oil. The airline will serve more than 100 destinations around the world by 2030 and will directly compete against Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Riyadh Air hired Tony Douglas, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Etihad Airways, to lead the company. Other notable hires include Peter Bellew, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) who has previously worked at Ryanair and easyJet, as well as Malaysia Airlines, and Vincent Coste, the new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), who worked as the CCO at Kenya Airways and Gulf Air. 

(With Inputs from Bloomberg)