India is about to relax rules that severely restrict the flexibility of business jets to visit or overfly that country.

The application time for a landing permit will be reduced from seven working days to three, and for an overflight from three days to one, according to local reports.

“This is a huge benefit to the whole of the business aviation industry,” says Lex den Herder, divisional vice president for government and industry affairs at flight services company Universal Weather and Aviation. The company has spearheaded industry efforts to change the rules since late 2010.

“The restrictions have been a big stumbling block to doing business in India,” he says. “Seven working days for a landing permit meant it could take up to two weeks to arrange a change in schedule. The result was that businessmen with a sudden need to visit would take the airlines instead of their private jet, or wouldn’t go at all.

“And three working days for permission to overfly the crossroads of southern Asia — for example, from Dubai to Singapore — was a great inconvenience. To fly around India could add two hours to the flight time.”

India imposed the restrictions after an illegal weapons drop by a low-flying turboprop cargo plane in the Purulia district of West Bengal in 1995.

Universal says it is now awaiting official notice of the relaxed regulation.