First aerosports policy drafted as India aims high for 2030
India's civil aviation ministry unveiled a draft National Aerosports Policy (NASP 2022) on Saturday. The policy seeks to cover air sports such as aerobatics, air-racing, hang gliding, aero-modeling, para-motoring, paragliding, ballooning, vintage aircraft, skydiving, and drones. The draft policy has been in the works for a year. It aims for India to become one of the leading air sports nations by 2030.
- India's vast geographical area, diverse topography, and pleasant weather notably make it ideal for air sports.
- Apart from direct revenue from air sports activities, there will be growth in travel, infrastructure, and local employment, especially in the hilly areas, said the government.
- The government hopes to attract air sports players and tourists from across the world by creating air sports hubs across India.
The Air Sports Federation of India (ASFI), which will be established as the apex body, will be responsible to the air sports associations. ASFI will represent India in the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) and other global international air sporting events. It mandates that all individuals and businesses who provide air sports services shall become members of the appropriate air sports associations.
"During peak winters, the level of air sports reduces in Europe and North America and the air sports aficionados migrate to milder climates," said the ministry in the draft. "This will enable Indian air sports enthusiasts to learn from the experience of the visiting professionals, get exposed to global best practices, and create opportunities to host global competitions in India," it further said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) divides India's airspace into three zones: red, yellow, and green. Permission from the central government and the Air Traffic Control Authority is required for operations in red and yellow zones. No authorization is required for an aircraft with an overall weight of less than 500 kg to operate in green zones.
With authorization from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, state government, and local ATC authority, Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh, Gangtok in Sikkim, Hadapsar in Maharashtra, or Vagamon in Kerala would be classified as a "control zone" for air sports.