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Govt. unveils India’s first ever Civil Aviation Policy

Ashok-Gajapathi-Raju

New Delhi : The National Democratic Alliance ( NDA) Government on Wednesday cleared India’s first ever integrated National Civil Aviation Policy, the focus of which would be on regional connectivity, cargo, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) and skill development.

Expressing his delight over the move, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju tweeted, “This will be a game-changer for the sector as airlines no longer need to wait for five years before starting international operations.”

“Any domestic airline can start international operations if it puts higher of 20 aircraft or 20 percent of total capacity on domestic routes. Now, the domestic airlines will not require prior approval before entering into international code share agreements,” he said.

Elaborating on the objectives of the Civil Aviation Policy, the Civil Aviation Minister said that it would make flying affordable, safe and convenient; promote balanced regional growth, tourism, infrastructure and ease of doing business.

Talking about the methodology used for drafting the policy, Raju said that his ministry had extensive discussions with various ministries, citizens and aviation sector stakeholders and received almost 450 responses to their draft policy.

“India will be the third largest civil aviation market by 2022 and to achieve this, we need right intentions, vision, planning and execution,” he said.

Talking about the need to tap vast growth potential of the aviation sector, the minister said, “Our middle class is 35 crores, while air passengers are only eight crores per year. Average Indian thus flies only once in 4-5 years. There is a tremendous scope for growth, which we will achieve through suitable policy measures.”

“The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) will to revive unserved airports and routes in Tier II and III cities. Fares on RCS routes to be Rs 2,500 per hour and the balance would be provided by the government through transparent VGF mechanism,” he added.

India will open skies on reciprocal basis for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations and countries beyond 5,000 km and the method of allotment of our un-used bilateral capacity to be recommended by a committee under the Cabinet Secretary, he said.

Under the new policy, development of greenfield and brownfield airports by the state governments, private sector or in Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode will be encouraged.

Four heli-hubs will be developed and helicopter emergency medical services will also be made available.

Raju said the centre-piece of the policy is the BJP manifesto’s promise of regional connectivity.

Moreover, under the new policy, domestic airlines will be permitted self ground-handling at all airports to ensure competition and efficiency.

“The cargo volume is also expected to increase four folds to 10 million by 2027,” he said. (ANI)

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