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Tuesday, 12 Jan 2016
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Indian Aviation: Taking Flight towards the Future



The Draft National Civil Aviation Policy was released by the Union Minister of Civil Aviation on 30th October 2015. The mission of the policy is to provide safe, secure, affordable and maintainable air travel with access to various parts of India and the world with an objective of enhanced regional connectivity, ease of doing business and promoting entire aviation sector chain from cargo, general aviation, aerospace manufacturing to skill development. An important objective of the Draft Civil Aviation Policy is the development of International Air Cargo Hub at gateway airports in India. To achieve this objective, airports will be developed as regional cargo hubs, integrating multimodal transport facilities, cold chains and other commodity specific requirements. The turnaround time for cargo will be upgraded to international standards.


The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU signed between Airports Authority of India and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise in Civil Aviation to establish mutual cooperation in the field of civil aviation.


To attract more projex into aviation sector, the FDI by foreign airlines, up to 49 per cent in scheduled air transport service/domestic scheduled passenger airline/regional air transport service, 100 per cent in non-scheduled air transport services and 100 per cent helicopter services/seaplane service requiring DGCA approval, has been permitted subject to certain sectoral regulations.


Other initiatives of the Ministry of Civil Aviation include:


  • To achieve better regulation of air transport services to unserved and underserved areas, a draft policy on promotion of Regional and Remote Area Connectivity is being finalized in consultation with stake holders.
  • The procedure for import/acquisition of aircraft by scheduled operators/regional scheduled operators is simplified by delegating power to grant initial NOC/in –Principle approval to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
  • Ministry of Civil Aviation is in the process of creating a conducive environment for the growth of Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) industry to enhance the viability of MRO business. GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system has been fully operationalised and is capable of providing navigation services to departure, en-route and landing operations to suitably equipped aircrafts.
  • The existing online height clearance system NOCAS has been upgraded to NOCAS V.2 to process the NoC application without any human intervention after physical verification of site elevation and co-ordination by AAI officials and issuance of NoC for height clearance expeditiously.


Airport projects on the anvil:


The Civil Aviation Ministry has given in-principle approval for financial bids or RFPs for the much-delayed Rs 15,000 crore Navi Mumbai International airport. The RFPs will soon be shared with the four shortlisted bidders. The four companies are GMR Group, the GVK-led MIAL, Hiranandani Developers along with Zurich Airport and Mia Infrastructure with Tata Realty and Infrastructure.


In Dec 2015, the Civil Aviation Ministry gave clearance for four greenfield airports. Three airports will be located in Andhra Pradesh and one international airport at Dholera, Gujarat. The Environment Ministry has already given environmental clearance to the Rs 1,378 crore airport project at Dholera.


Again, in Dec 2015, the Government of India granted site clearance to DMIDC (project proponent) for setting up of a greenfield airport for public use near Bhiwadi in Alwar district of Rajasthan. Additionally, the government granted 'in-principle' approval to 13 projects: Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai, Sindhudurg and Shirdi in Maharashtra, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Hassan and Shimoga in Karnataka, Kannur in Kerala, Dabra in Gwalior, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh and Karaikal in Puducherry.


Expansion and Modernisation:


In Dec 2015, GMR Hyderabad International Airport was in the process of finalising plans to take up expansion of the Hyderabad airport once the regulatory approvals were received. GMR plans to expand the airport passenger terminal capacity to over 20 million passengers over the next two-three years, up from 12 million capacity.


In Nov 2015, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) decided to spend Rs 450 crore to upgrade Agartala airport to international standards. About 72 acre of land has already been given to AAI by the state government for expansion of the runway.


In Oct 2015, Cochin International Airport awarded the mechanical and electrical contract for its new international terminal to Sterling and Wilson, a Shapoorji Pallonji Group company. The new international terminal at CIAL will spread across a built up area of 1.5 million square feet. Sterling and Wilson is expected to complete the job within 18 months.


The new integrated terminal building of the Tirupati airport commenced operation in November 2015. The Terminal Building built at a cost of Rs 191 crore is capable of handling 500 Domestic and 200 International Passengers at a time. Also, in Oct 2015, the cargo terminal of Chennai Airport was inaugurated.


Quote of the week:

  Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati

"Technically, we have three modern airports in the country that can have parallel runways - Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi. For a country like India's size, two on the west coast and two more on the east coast are needed."


~ Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Union Minister for Civil Aviation

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