Air taxis possible in India under new drone rules says Aviation Minister


India may soon witness the vision of air taxi services – which could help reduce traffic and pollution on city roads – operating under the Drone Rules 2021 that were announced by the government on Thursday.


Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia today said, “I believe, there’s a possibility that similar to taxis running on the road, we see taxis in the air, under the drone policy.”


“Air taxis are being researched globally… and many startups are coming up. The time is not far when like taxis that you see on roads, like Uber, etc., you will see see taxis in the air under the new drone policy. I believe this is very possible,” Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said.


In a notification dated August 25, the ministry eased the rules regarding drone operations. It reduced the number of forms needed to be filled to operate drones from 25 to 5.


According to these rules no security clearance is required before registration or issue of licence for the operation of drones. In addition, fees for these licenses have has been reduced significantly.


Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries, and coverage of drones has been increased from 300 kg to 500 kg to include heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis, or air taxis.


The Civil Aviation Ministry has also reduced forms that need to be filled to operate drones – from 25 to five – and decreased types of fees charged from the operator – from 72 to four.


Online registration of all drones shall happen through the Digital Sky platform.


Safety features like ‘No permission – no take-off’ (NPNT) and a real-time tracking beacon are to be notified and a six-month minimum lead time will be provided for compliance.


All drone training and examination is to be carried out by authorised schools working in accordance with rules to be prescribed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).