Want to buy a chopper or a jet for personal use? Govt may have other plans
If you are an Indian high-net-worth individual who may be planning to buy a swanky private jet or a helicopter for personal use, the government may have other plans for you.
The government is planning to curb imports of private jets and helicopters to plug its trade deficit, a Bloomberg news report said.
India’s trade deficit widened in October amid worries of a global slowdown that hurt overseas shipments. In July, the finance ministry imposed levies on gold after the ballooning trade deficit pushed the rupee to a record low.
According to the report, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said India is working to increase shared ownership of helicopters to make them accessible to the wider public.
What kind of imports does India want to curb?
Citing a government document, Bloomberg said that any import of planes weighing more than 15,000 kilograms (33,100 pounds) unladen as well as turbo jets are “non-essential” and shouldn’t be brought in from abroad as much as is done now.
And what does the government plan to do instead?
The government will identify ways to “boost exports and contain a surge of non-essential imports so as to bring down the trade deficit,” the report said.
India’s aviation regulator, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and National Aerospace Laboratories are among those who should be consulted to devise a strategy, according to the document cited by Bloomberg.
Who will such a move impact the most?
The move may well be a blow to planemakers that serve India’s ultra-rich. Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s second-wealthiest person, owns a Boeing business jet. Tata Group’s patriarch Ratan Tata flies a Dassault Falcon 2000 jet and former billionaire Anil Ambani has a Bombardier global express plane.
Who stands to gain?
The report said the move may benefit the government’s plans to boost leasing of aircraft from the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City.
But why could such a move be problematic?
The recommendations are at odds with India’s vision to boost adoption of helicopters in a vast country that has negligible local manufacturing of aircraft. Aviation minister Scindia has previously said India is working to increase shared ownership of helicopters to make them accessible to the wider public. Limiting exports without building substantial local output of helicopters and private jets risks setting back the Indian economy.
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