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UK Air Charter firm Plc plans India foray

By Nivedita Mookerji
July 15, 2011 14:45 IST
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AircraftUK-based Air Charter Service Plc, which operates in the US, Europe, South Africa and parts of Asia, is planning to enter India.

The company proposes to set up shop in the country for aircraft charter brokering business.

Ananjan Mitter, partner at ALMT Legal, a law firm, has represented Air Charter Service in the venture's application to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, a key wing in the finance ministry that vets foreign direct investments proposals of companies.

When contacted, Mitter confirmed to Business Standard that UK-based Air Charter Service plans to enter India. The company spokesperson told the newspaper "it was exploring the possibility of opening in India" and that nothing more could be shared at this point.

"As part of our aviation law practice, we advise clients from the industry. We (ALMT Legal) have applied on behalf of our client Air Charter Service Group PLC, a UK company, which operates globally in the aircraft charter brokering business," Mitter said.

According to the FIPB application, the proposed FDI level is 74 per cent. In the non-scheduled airline category, that includes charter service, FDI is capped at 74 per cent.

With the demand for charter services growing in India across sectors such as hospitality, healthcare, tourism, sports, films and music/entertainment, foreign players are keen to get a share of this market. General aviation in the country has witnessed a huge growth in the past four years.

Industry estimates show that while Mumbai airport witnessed a 61.8 per cent increase in general aviation movement during this period, Delhi saw a growth of 31.33 per cent.

A report by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation also predicts a major growth in the general aviation sector in the country over the next 10 years.

The sale of new aircraft -- business jets, helicopters, turboprops and piston engines -- is projected to go up to $12 billion.

The country currently has 680 aircraft in the General Aviation fleet, and the number has been predicted to touch 2,000 in 10 years.

Air Charter Service caters to industries like automobile manufacturers and oil & gas industry.

It also specialises in reaching out to war zones, natural disaster sites, oil fields and countries hit by strikes, according to information available on its website.

It also offers its services in carrying hazardous cargo in state emergency situations.

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Nivedita Mookerji in New Delhi
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