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India's Civil Aviation Minister outlines eight actions in future to improve aviation sector

10-Oct-2012 8:43 AM

India's Minister of Civil Aviation Ajit Singh stated (09-Oct-2012) the future plans of the Ministry include rationalising the price of ATF by getting it declared as a notified product, improving connectivity to smaller and remote parts of the country, enhancement of helicopter connectivity, developing India as an international hub, developing low cost airports, creation of Civil Aviation Authority, creation of Civil Aviation Security Force and skill augmentation in Civil Aviation sector. Details include:

  1. Issues related to ATF: Mr Singh noted it is seeking the rationalisation of price of ATF by getting it declared as a notified product to bring it under the ambit of Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). He noted, "ATF constitutes approximately 40% to 50% of operating expenses of Indian Airlines. The major contributor to the high prices of ATF is the VAT levied by various State Governments ranging from 4% to 30%. Efforts are on to persuade the State Governments to reduce the VAT on ATF so as to bring down the prices of ATF and discussions with a number of States have already taken place in this regard";
  2. Connectivity to smaller and remote parts of India: Mr Singh said the "top most priority of the Government is to provide air connectivity to remote and interior areas of the country, North Eastern Region, Tier-II & Tier-III cities of India and remote/difficult areas of the country. Connectivity which is proposed to be provided would be customer oriented in terms of affordability and cost of travel. Two main instruments to facilitate air connectivity to these areas include Route Dispersal Guidelines and plane acquisition policy. For this purpose a Consultant has been appointed and the report of the Consultant is expected to be finalised within a period of 2-months";
  3. Enhancement of Helicopter connectivity;
  4. India to be developed as an international hub: Mr Singh noted the need to develop India as an international hub for the passengers. He continued, "Action in this regard has been initiated, which includes revisiting the policy regarding bilateral air service agreements with different countries and also rationalisation of all bilaterals and traffic entitlements on international routes to Indian carriers and rationalisation of traffic on domestic routes. This would also require development of more airports for domestic & international operations";
  5. Development of Low Cost Airports: Mr Singh stated that in an endeavour to provide air connectivity to different parts of India, development of low cost airports is seen as "the most important component". Mr Singh continued, "Instructions have been issued to AAI to identify the most suitable low cost model for development of smaller airports and to develop airports in the smaller cities based on this model";
  6. Creation of Civil Aviation Authority: Mr Singh said the creation of Civil Aviation Authority to manage the "phenomenal growth of air traffic with safety", through an "effective, autonomous and professional regulatory body" is required and a bill in this regard will soon be brought before the Parliament;
  7. Creation of Civil Aviation Security Force: Mr Singh said the government is preparing the creation of a separate Civil Aviation Security Force which is "professionally trained and exclusively meant for the work of civil aviation". He noted efforts would also be made to negotiate with the State Governments to provide security at smaller airports so that the central security forces may be effectively utilised at the larger and more important airports. This will also bring down the cost to provide security which would reduce the burden on passengers from the security expenses, he noted;
  8. Skill augmentation in civil aviation sector: Mr Singh stated work to establish a Civil Aviation University is in progress. [more - original PR]