Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Smaller Towns will soon get Air Connectivity: Ajit Singh
Union Minister of Civil Aviation Shri 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. He was addressing the members of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry Civil Aviation Ministry in Bangalore today. Shri 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.

Shri Singh undelined 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.

Civil Aviation 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. Shri 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, Shri Singh added.

Shri 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.

The meeting was attended by Members of Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Ministry of Civil Aviation and senior officers of Civil Aviation Ministry and DGCA. 

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