For the first time, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has cleared an aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to be used for civilian flights. Indian aeronautical giant HAL produces Dornier-228 which will now be used for civilian commercial flights. Earlier, the state manufactured aircraft was only fit for defence use. Now after the clearance from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), HAL would also be able to sell Dornier-228 to airlines in India. The 19-seater aircraft is currently used by Defence forces.

According to reports, the aircraft can be used by airlines for regional connectivity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a scheme UDAN for regional connectivity through airlines. “Some special incentives may be given to operators using this plane. Apart from airlines in India, HAL may also look at selling this plane for civil use in neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka,” an official was quoted as saying by Time of India. Dornier is a highly versatile multi-purpose light transport aircraft. The aircraft is competent for air-taxi operations, coast guard duties, third level services, maritime surveillance. The aircraft has also been used for troop transport and pollution prevention.

The aircraft has a wingspan of 16.97 m, length of 7.08 m, height of 1.55 m and Width of 1.35 m. Functional versatility with low operating cost makes HAL Do-228 adaptable for a wide variety of roles including Commuter, Air Taxi, Utility, Corporate, Aircrew Training, Maritime Surveillance, Search & Rescue and for Observation & Communication duties, reports HAL website.

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