Draft Aircraft Bill 2023 issued for public consultation: Here are the main points
Indian skies could be set for an overhaul. The Civil Aviation Ministry, after reviewing the existing Aircraft Act, 1934, has presented the draft Aircraft Bill, 2023. The aim of the new piece of legislation is to simplify the regulations, identify redundancies, and meet the current needs of civil aviation.
The bill has been issued by the ministry for public consultation for 30 days, according to a communication dated May 30. The Federal takes a look at what it offers to airline operators, regulatory bodies, and fliers.
The preamble to the Draft Aircraft Bill, 2023, says it an “Act to make better provision for regulation and control of the design, manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
It also explains that “it is expedient to make better provisions for regulation and control of the design, manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, and to remove the redundancies in the Aircraft Act, 1934.”
The Bill clearly demarcates the functions of three statutory bodies, namely, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, and the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCI) shall be responsible for safety oversight and regulatory functions with respect to the Act, while the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security will be responsible for matters relating to civil aviation security specified in the Act.
The Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau will be responsible for matters relating to investigation of aircraft accidents or incidents specified in the Act.
Besides, the Director General of Civil Aviation or any other officer empowered to that effect by the Centre may, from time to time, issue directions to anyone “using any aerodrome or engaged in the aircraft operations, air traffic control, maintenance and operation of aerodrome, communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management facilities and safeguarding civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference” if the officer deems it fit “in the interests of the security of India or for securing the safety of aircraft operations”.
All three statutory bodies will take orders from the Centre, which may “make rules regulating the design, manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import or export of any aircraft or class of aircraft and for securing the safety of aircraft operations”.
The Centre may also make rules befitting the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation signed on December 7, 1944; to protect public health and prevent any danger posed to the public by the introduction or spread of any infectious or contagious disease from any aircraft arriving at or being at any aerodrome or leaving one; to secure the safe custody and re-delivery of unclaimed property.
The Centre is also empowered to investigate accidents of any aircraft occurring in or over India or anywhere of aircraft registered in India. Any authority authorised by the Centre may detain any aircraft if s/he believes that its flight would pose danger to those in the aircraft or to any other persons or property.
The provisions of the act also include rules related to penalties, payment of compensation related to the prohibition on construction near aerodromes, and arbitrators, among others.
(With agency inputs)