The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has removed restrictions governing the aircraft types that local carriers can wet-lease in for a period of three months, extendable by another three months, the Times of India has reported.

Thus far, Indian carriers have only been permitted to wet-lease aircraft which already have an Indian type certificate or, alternatively, they had to secure such a type certificate before the beginning of the contract. This put up significant obstacles to any potential deals involving aircraft hitherto not operated in India - such as smaller turboprops and jets as well as seaplanes.

The loosening of regulations may facilitate the operation of many thinner routes under the government's UDAN/RCS subsidisation scheme, where smaller, non-mainstream, aircraft types are often used.

However, the DGCA still restricts the circumstances under which Indian airlines are permitted to wet-lease in capacity.

"Wet, damp or dry lease is only permitted in emergency situations by DGCA. Situations cover unexpected grounding of aircraft of an existing (airline, charter operator), aircraft under unscheduled maintenance or checks or any other unforeseen circumstances. Such leases are not permitted for capacity or route expansion of an air transport (passenger) service except for cargo operations," the new regulation stipulates.

Indian carriers are also restricted to wet-leasing passenger aircraft not older than 18 years of age, and freighters not older than 25 years, although the DGCA can exempt carriers from these requirements under special circumstances.