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CIVIL AVIATION

Ajit Singh emphasizes on development of low cost airports to improve connectivity

New Delhi: December 17,2012

The meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Members of Parliament for the Ministry of Civil Aviation was held in New Delhi today to discuss the issue of airport infrastructure and air connectivity. Addressing the meeting Union Minister of Civil Aviation Shri Ajit Singh said that aviation has emerged as one of the most important growth engines of the country during the 11th Plan period. Stating that during the last 10 years, compounded annual growth rate of passenger traffic has been approximately 15%, Shri Singh underlined that a key trend in the business model of the Indian carriers in the domestic operations is rapid shifting to Low Cost Carrier model. 

The Minister enumerated the recent steps taken by the Government to revive the aviation industry and ensure its long term viability. These include allowing 49% FDI by foreign airlines in Indian carriers, allowing Indian carriers to import ATF, TAP and FRP of Air India and liberal policy to allocate traffic rights to private Indian carriers to various international destinations in addition to Air India. However, Shri Singh clarified that Air India is given priority in allocation of traffic rights. Elaborating on simplification of procedure for sanction of building around airports, Shri Singh said that the Government has decided to do away with the system of taking NOC from Airports Authority of India (AAI) every time and has now prescribed the height at different distances from the airports upto which the local municipal authority will be empowered to sanction the map of the area around airports. The builder/applicant will have to come to AAI only if they want to consider building higher than the prescribed heights. He informed that the Government has established a separate Air Accident Investigation Bureau to efficiently investigate the accidents and to recommend effective corrective measures. 

Shri Singh added that apart from 5 major airports already operationalised under Joint Venture/ PPP mode, Government has given in principle approval for setting up of 15 new Greenfield airports including Goa, Navi Mumbai and Kannur. 

The Minister outlined the priority areas of the Ministry which included providing greater connectivity to smaller and remote parts of the country, development of low-cost airports, reduction of VAT on ATF, bringing ATF under the ambit of PNGRB Act, India to be developed as an international hub, creation of Civil Aviation Authority and creation of Civil Aviation Security Force. 

Shri Singh also informed that India’s GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation System known as GAGAN developed by AAI with the support of ISRO with an estimated cost of Rs. 774 crores is likely to be rolled out by July, 2013. 

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri K.C. Venugopal was also present on the occasion. During the discussion, the members while appreciating the recent steps of the Ministry in civil aviation sector, called for improving connectivity by increasing number of flights and setting up airports at smaller towns. They also raised concern over increasing air fares. 

The Members of Parliament who were present included Shri Ambica Banerjee, Shri Dilip Gandhi, Shri Hassan Khan, Shri Manicka Tagore, Shri Mithlesh Kumar, Dr. Prasanna K. Patasani, Dr. Sanjay Sinh, Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul, Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri Pinaki Misra, Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Shri Avinash Rai Khanna, Shri Avtar Singh Karimpuri, Shri Lalhming Liana, Shri P. Govardhan Reddy, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shri Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Shri Vijay Darda. 

 
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