Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

19 Jul, 2012

India Working On New Policy To Help Airlines Reach Smaller Cities


Ministry of Civil Aviation (17-July 2012) — Union Minister of Civil Aviation Mr Ajit Singh has said that the Government is in the process of providing air connectivity to remote and interior areas of the country including the North Eastern Region and Tier II and Tier III cities.

Addressing  members of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation in Bangalore today. Mr Singh said that the new policy instrument in the form of Route Dispersal Guidelines is under consideration. It includes creation of Essential Air Services Fund (EASF) for providing direct subsidy to encourage domestic airlines to fly on these remote and interior routes.

The Minister informed the meeting that the Civil Aviation Ministry is also in the process of enhancing the present operations of helicopters and construction of heliports at various places to improve the connectivity of smaller places, including places of religious and tourist importance with bigger cities. He added that the Ministry would also soon modify guidelines for acquisition of aircrafts so that Indian carriers become bound to acquire smaller aircrafts needed for providing connectivity to these smaller cities.

Mr Singh underlined the need to develop India as an international hub for the passengers and said that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has initiated action in this regard, which includes revisiting the policy regarding bilateral air service agreements with different countries and also rationalization of all bilaterals and traffic entitlements on international routes to Indian carriers and rationalization of traffic on domestic routes.

The Minister said that it is a challenge to manage phenomenal growth of air traffic with safety. He added that for this an effective, autonomous and professionally competent regulatory framework is required. Mr Singh said the Ministry is contemplating to give more functional autonomy to the existing Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) by establishing Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) under an Act of Parliament which will soon be given a final shape. Besides this, there is a proposal to restructure the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and to constitute a dedicated security force which will soon see the light of the day, Mr Singh added.

Mr Singh said that it is also proposed to set up a National Aviation University, as a measure of skill augmentation and to produce the next generation of aviation professional. He said the National Aviation University is aimed at creation of aviation training hub in the country to meet the requirements of other countries in the region.

Later, addressing a meeting of a group of manufacturers of aerospace products in Bangalore, Mr Singh said there is a need to develop Tier II and Tier III companies in the country to manufacture small components and assemblies of aircraft. He said the aerospace industry in the country is still in infancy stage. Presently, passenger aircraft manufacture is being done by public sector and that private sector is also showing initiative in this direction. Besides, there are some manufacturing units which are in the process of manufacturing aircraft parts outsourced by foreign companies. The Minister added that these companies will have the potential to supply their products to foreign companies.

The Minister expressed hope that the Indian aerospace industry will compete in the global market and will be capable of attaining international standards. With a view to provide special training for a large number of semi-qualified personnel to meet the requirements of aerospace industry, the Ministry has undertaken several mutually beneficial bilateral projects for the benefit of youths. The Minister assured the manufacturers of aerospace industry that the specific recommendations of the aerospace promotion council will be taken up with the ministries and departments concerned for speedy action and redressal of grievances.

The Minister also stressed the need for a comprehensive civil aviation policy concerning issues pertaining to regulatory standards and the infrastructure that affect the aerospace industry.