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Air Passenger Traffic Shows Solid Growth in India

New Delhi: Minister of Civil Aviation Shri P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju has said that the Government is examining stakeholders’ comments invited on the draft Civil Aviation Policy and holding detailed discussions with each segment of aviation industry such as airlines, helicopter and general aviation operators, cargo sector, airports sector etc. to arrive at solid measures required to quickly put the aviation industry back on its growth trajectory. The Minister was addressing the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Civil Aviation held in New Delhi to discuss the draft Civil Aviation Policy. Shri Raju said India is witnessing a rapid growth in air traffic. Passengers carried by domestic airlines during 2013-2014 were 602.3 Lakh as against 576.5 lakhs during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 4.5%. He added that India’s domestic passenger traffic has risen 7.4% in August, reflecting solid growth over the past two or three months. Latest IATA data shows that the growth is the second highest globally after Russia’s 10%. Civil Aviation Minister informed the members of the Committee that there are nearly 400 aircraft operated by scheduled airlines, which may increase substantially in the next ten years. He said new airlines have come up with foreign investments which indicate global interest and confidence in Indian aviation market. On rationalization of price of ATF, Shri Raju said the Centre will take up the issue with all State Governments in a meeting called on 30th December and request them again to reduce VAT on ATF. He said the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has also been requested to review the pricing mechanism for ATF, as in India the price of ATF is about 30% higher than other countries in the region. The Minister informed that in order to achieve better air connectivity to under-served areas and the need for air transport services to different regions and remote areas in the country, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is reviewing the existing route dispersal guidelines. Shri Raju said as the number of aircraft in India grows, there will be an increasing requirement for aircraft maintenance and repair facilities within the country. He said as most of MRO work is outsourced by airlines to foreign MROs, it will be the intention to do much of the work, including engine maintenance, within the country. This will give employment to skilled persons and save outflow of foreign exchange. He said the required taxation and infrastructure issues are being addressed by the Ministry in consultation with Ministry of Finance to facilitate development of Indian MROs. Shri Raju said it is essential that DGCA procedures are transparent, and are friendly to stakeholders, without compromising safety. He said E-DGCA programme has been started at DGCA, which also enables on-line examination of a large number of pilots and engineers. The members raised the issues such as better air connectivity, rationalization of air fares, making the fare structure system more transparent and modernisation/ upgradation of airports. Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Tourism (Independent Charge) and Culture (Independent Charge) Dr. Mahesh Sharma was also present in the meeting. The Members of Parliament present included Shri A.P.Jithender Reddy, Shri Chandrakant Raghunath Patil, Shri E.Ahamed, Shri Jitendra Chaudhury, Shri Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, Shri Thupstan Chhewang, Shri Praful Patel, Shri Paul Manoj Pandian and Shri Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

About Sanjay Trivedi

Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.

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