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AN INTERVIEW WITH CAPTAIN ROHIT KAPUR
President- Business Aircraft Operators Association (India)

In preparing this issue of BizJet Advisor- Editorial Director Jack Olcott spoke with Captain Rohit Kapur- President of the Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA)- the amalgam of groups in India representing Business Aviation.

BJA: Thank you- Captain Kapur. Let’s start with a basic question: Does the Indian Government have an Aviation Policy- and if so does it specifically reference Business Aviation?

Captain Kapur: The Indian Government does have a formal policy on aviation- but it focuses only on commercial aviation and is rather incoherent as far as Business Aviation is concerned. The topic—the importance of Business Aviation and its appropriate role within national policy—is one of the agenda topics that BAOA is addressing.

BJA: Within India- what are the impressions of policy leaders and the media towards Business Aviation- and what role does BAOA have in framing that impression?

Captain Kapur: We believe there is an educational role for BAOA in this arena. Our approach is to present basic information regarding our community. We start with the fact that General Aviation includes all kinds of aviation except the military and the scheduled airlines. We define Business Aviation as the use of any General Aviation aircraft for a business purpose. As such- Business Aviation is a part of General Aviation that focuses on the business use of airplanes and helicopters.

BJA: Would you please expand upon your educational approach?

Captain Kapur: Certainly. We have material- such as presentations- that address the role of Business Aviation and how companies and entrepreneurs use this form of transportation. We describe how business aircraft provide connectivity between cities and the interior of India- thereby bringing the ebb and fl ow of commerce to the hinterland.

Member companies of BAOA use their aircraft for the transport of employees- executives- customers and supplies—such as parts and company communication materials. In addition to industrial uses- business aircraft in India offer emergency transport during natural disasters- and our Member companies make their aircraft available for charity purposes.

BAOA materials identify the benefi ts of Business Aviation: We focus on saving employee time; increasing the productivity of personnel while traveling; maximizing non-business hours away from home and offi ce; ensuring industrial security; feeding the entrepreneurial spirit; and enabling the company to schedule trips reliably and effi ciently. We advocate the basic and proven benefi ts of Business Aviation.

BJA: Do you provide specifi c examples of how companies use their business aircraft in India?

Captain Kapur: Our Member companies provide ample examples and case studies of how Business Aviation benefi ts shareholders and entrepreneurs.

Consider the multi-day business trip of a BAOA Member on his Gulfstream G550: After a full day of work in New Delhi- he left India’s capital and fl ew non-stop to Tripoli- sleeping on his aircraft and arriving well rested early in the morning of Day 1. Following a full day’s work in Tripoli- he departed in the evening for Almatty- capital of Kazakhstan- and prepared en route for his business meeting there on Day 2 before retiring for the night.

Following a day full of discussions and negotiations- the owner departed in his aircraft for an overnight fl ight to Jakarta. When work was complete- he left the Indonesian capital for home- arriving back in New Delhi at midnight of Day 3. On the morning of Day 4- following a restful night’s sleep in his own bed at home- our Member was in his earthbound offi ce with minimal jet lag following a business trip that covered thousands of miles.

BJA: How would such a trip be accomplished from India via the scheduled airlines?

Captain Kapur: If such a business itinerary were to be accomplished on the airlines- we conservatively estimate that its duration would be seven days- and the fatigue factor would be signifi cantly higher.

The airlines do not fl y non-stop between the city-pairs mentioned (which - incidentally - our Member company visits monthly). Business Aviation is a necessity when you consider the wear and tear on executives- and the need for top management to be in top form when overseeing critical programs.

BJA: Are there examples of companies using smaller business aircraft- possibly domestically within India?

Captain Kapur: Another of our Member companies operates a turboprop business aircraft- and routinely uses it for executive visits with on-site managers in an area of East India known as Orissa.

Departing from Kolkata (formally known as Calcutta) they fly directly to a small airstrip at Barbil- which is a 30-minute drive from the company’s mining site. Following activities either at the mine or in the town of Barbil- the executive is able to be back in Kolkata within two and a half hours of takeoff. Thus a meaningful visit requires only a day away from the home office.

If such a trip were limited to airline travel- three days would be needed since the nearest airport with scheduled service - Bhubaneswar [the capital of East India] - is a sixhour drive from Barbil- and service between Bhubaneswar and Kolkata is limited to times that are not conducive to a full-day’s work at the mine location of our Member company.

BJA: Is Business Aviation likely to expand in India?

Captain Kapur: We are optimistic. India has a large fleet of airplanes and helicopters used for business. Currently- we count 552 aircraft within the Indian Business Aviation fleet. Over 150 are business jets- about 275 are helicopters and the rest are turboprops.

We project that by 2020- the total Indian fleet of business aircraft will reach nearly 1-800 machines. At that time- we expect India to be the world’s third largest market for business aircraft.

BJA: Please describe the Business Aircraft Operators Association that you serve as President.

Captain Kapur: BAOA- which is a not-for-profit corporation- was established recently to be the collective voice for the Business Aviation community in India. We are dedicated to assist our Members in all matters related to aviation.

Our Mission is four-fold: To Advocate the benefits of Business Aviation to regulatory agencies and industry groups; to foster the highest degree of operational efficiency and safety; to actively promote the overall growth of Business Aviation in India; and to work in order to define the standards of Business Aviation in India.

Our Role is representing the Business Aviation sector of air transportation. We are a platform for encouraging close cooperation among stakeholders within the Business Aviation community- collecting and communicating data related to safety- operations and training.

We highlight to government and international agencies those issues that are important to our community. And we coordinate the resources and benefits of Business Aviation in order to synergize the efforts of BAOA Members.

The Governing Board of BAOA is an elected body with 11 members and consists of the leading Business Aviation users in India- and Foreign associate members with interests in the industry here.

BJA: Thank you- Captain Kapur. We wish you and all BAOA Members good fortune in your worthy cause on behalf of Business Aviation.


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