Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year-and-Review of the Ministry of Civil aviation for the Year 2009
“2009 has been an eventful and tumultuous year for the Civil Aviation Sector worldwide. We can draw satisfaction from the fact that the worst is over. Things are turning for the better, which is borne out by the rebound in air traffic figures from October’09 onwards. I sincerely hope that things will stabilize in 2010 and flying will once again be the preferred choice of travel for people.” – Praful Patel.

Following are some of the important issues taken up by the Ministry of Civil Aviation during the year 2009:

I Airports

Airports Authority of India (AAI)

AAI was accorded the status of Miniratna Category-I. With the restructuring of the Board of AAI by induction of 4 non-official Directors on its Board, AAI can now exercise its Miniratna Powers to decide and implement projects costing up to Rs.500 crore with the approval of its own Board.

· Development works by the AAI has been completed at various non-metro airports and in many the work is scheduled to be completed by 2009-10. The Government had decided to upgrade and modernize 35 non-metro airports across the country. This work is being done by the AAI. The city side development work is proposed to be undertaken at 24 of these airports. In the first phase 10 airports i.e. Kolkata, Hyderabad (Begumpet), Vishakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Indore, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Guwahati and Jaipur are being taken up for city side development through PPP. The scope of city side development, through PPP has been restricted to the following activities: (i) Commercial development of property on city- side; (ii) Car park; and (iii) Cargo operations.

New Integrated Terminal Buildings were commissioned is Srinagar, Vishakhapatnam, Thiruchirapalli, Amritsar, Dehradun, Jaipur, Dibrugarh and Surat in February 2009. Foundation stones for new integrated terminals were laid at Indore, Bhopal, Raipur, Ranchi and Vadodara airports. Foundation stone was also laid for the development of a new Greenfield Airport in Pakyong in Sikkim.

· The Government approved the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) proposed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) for those general employees, upto the level of DGM, who were working at IGI Airport, Delhi and CSI Airport, Mumbai.

· AAI signed a Joint Venture Agreement on 17 September, 2009 with the State Governments of Punjab and Haryana for the development of an International Civil Air Terminal at Chandigarh.

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL)

As part of modernization of Delhi Airport, the major development works completed during the first half of Financial Year 2009-10 pertained to runway 11/29, Parallel Taxiway to Runway, Five Rapid Exit Taxiways, Connecting Taxiways, International Terminal Refurbishment, Haj Terminal Renovation, Domestic Arrival Terminal Expansion, Domestic Terminal Road widening etc.

The Government gave conditional approval to the levy of Development Fee (DF) by the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) @ Rs.1300/- per departing international passenger and @ Rs.200/- per departing domestic passenger with effect from 1 March, 2009. The DF which is being levied purely on an adhoc basis, is inclusive of all applicable taxes and is for a period of 36 months only.

Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL)

· As part of modernization of Mumbai Airport, the major development works completed during the first half of Financial Year 2009-10 are South west pier, integrated passenger terminal, Baggage Handling System (BHS) in the new domestic terminal, six Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBBs) in the new domestic terminal.

· The Government approved the levy of Development Fee (DF) by Mumbai International Airport Ltd. (MIAL) at the CSI Airport, Mumbai. The DF will be Rs.100 per departing domestic passenger and Rs.600 per departing international passenger, inclusive of all applicable taxes, purely on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis, for a period of 48 months w.e.f. 1 April, 2009.

II Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA)

· AERA has been established on 12.05.2009 with the prime objective to create a level playing field and foster healthy competition among all major airports (Government owned, Public Partnership based, Private) encourage investment in airport facilities, regulate tariffs of aeronautical services, protection of reasonable interest of users, operate efficient, economic and viable airports at notified airports. The commencement of Chapter III and Chapter VI of AERA is notified, w.e.f. 01.09.2009 to enable AERA to discharge regulatory functions. AERA has got operationalized with manpower consisting of Chairperson, Secretary and other skeletal supporting staff.

III Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

· The regulatory mechanism in DGCA is being strengthened on high priority due to unprecedented growth in aircraft movement from 717597 in 2004-05 to 1306532 movements in 2008-09 and total passenger traffic from 37 millions in 2004-05 to 69 millions in 2008-09.

· In order to enhance safety across the sector, ‘One Level’ safety principle is being implemented in all modes of operations – Scheduled, Non-scheduled helicopters, General Aviation and State Government.

· Safety Oversight capability of DGCA is being strengthened by revival and creation of newly created technical positions (in all over 650 positions). An aggressive action plan for recruitment is under way.

· A feasibility study to set up a Civil Aviation Authority in DGCA has been commissioned in Oct, 2009 in technical cooperation with ICAO to improve financial and administrative autonomy to discharge safety oversight functions more effectively.

· Development of professional skill and training to carry out oversight functions and existing and newly recruited technical staff will be imparted by setting up a training academy and operationalising and external training programme.

· Regulatory framework to implement International Civil Aviation Organization standards is being kept updated.

· A sector-wise Annual Surveillance programme (including over 4000 surveillance activities) is being implemented to ensure adherence to regulations by stakeholders.

· Hardware and Software capabilities of DGCA to monitor quality of flight operations is being strengthened to attain minimum international level.

· A State Safety Programme is being formulated and will be completed by November, 2010.

· Safety Management System (SMS), a mandatory provision to enhance safety culture amongst airlines, aerodrome operators and air navigation service providers including maintenance organizations is being implemented and closely monitored.

· To further enhance oversight capabilities of DGCA in the areas of aerodromes, Air Navigation services and Flight Safety and also to set up a Civil Aviation Authority, 3 Projects have been formulated in technical cooperation with ICAO and are being implemented in the current year.

· In order to mitigate adverse impact of civil aviation on environment, new technological, operational and air traffic management users have been introduced for implementation by airlines, aerodrome operators and air navigation service providers.

· Due to globalization and de-regulation of civil aviation both in domestic and international sector consumer interests are being protected by following means:

Framing regulations of refund of tickets, denied boarding, cancellation and delays of flights.
Provision of facilities and amenities to disabled persons when traveling by airlines.
On Time Performance of airlines is being monitored periodically and brought into public domain.

· Bilateral and multilateral international cooperation is being strengthened in particular with ICAO, EU in the areas of skill development, capacity building, air safety, accident investigation etc.

· Ninety per cent audit findings of ICAO Safety Audit, 2006 have been complied with.

· India has been retained in Category I (which it has held since 1997) under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of USA under International Safety Assessment Programme. This category shall ensure continued level and further addition to operators of Indian airlines to USA.

· Due to increase in air traffic, the work of DGCA is also expanding. More private operators, both scheduled and non-scheduled are entering the civil aviation sector. Currently there are 12 scheduled domestic operators, around 120 non-scheduled operators and around 70 foreign operators. Two more directorates of Air Space and Air Traffic Management have been created. To reduce effort and time by DGCA officials on the routine work, bring transparency in their work and provide easy interface to all the external stakeholders, it is proposed to bring about complete automation of DGCA activities and integration among its directorates. The Project, titled System of Productivity Enhancement with Enterprise-wide Development (SPEED), is under process.

IV Safety and Security

Requisition of aircraft - In a landmark decision, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued a notification on 22 January, 2009 stating that an authorized officer of the Central Government, not below the rank of Joint Secretary, in the Ministry of Civil Aviation or the Ministry of Home Affairs can requisition one or more aircraft from any specified Aircraft Operator for placing at the disposal of the Government in the interest of public safety.

Carriage by Air Bill, 2008 amended in Parliament - The Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill 2008, stands amended by the Parliament after it was passed by the Rajya Sabha on February 19, 2009. It now paves the way for India to accede to the Montreal Convention, 1999. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 30th April, 2008. The Convention seeks to increase the compensation levels for international passengers in the event of death or body injury and damage and delay to the passenger baggage and cargo. While the compensation for death or bodily injury is proposed to be increased 7 times from the existing levels of 20000 USD approximately to 140000 USD approximately, the compensation for damage to checked baggage is to increase from 20 USD per kg approximately to 1400 USD per passenger. The compensation for damage to cargo is proposed to be increased from 20 USD per kg approximately to 24 USD per kg. Following this, India became the 91st country to have ratified the Montreal Convention, and the Convention became effective for India on 30 June, 2009.

· India has been found to be fully compliant with the international safety standards by an audit done by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States of America. India fully meets the eligibility criteria to retain current Category I status under FAA IASA.

· Aviation Regulations Advisory Panel (ARAP) has been constituted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on 3 September, 2009. The areas covered by ARAP are Airworthiness, Flight operations, Flight safety, Licensing of personnel, Air Transport services, Aerodrome and Air Navigation services and any other area.

V Cargo

Streamlining and Promoting Cargo Operations

· The Ministry on 23 Februrary, 2009 has issued an order streamlining the cargo operations at various airports across the country.

· Multi Modal Cargo Hub - The Government on 11 February 2009 approved the handing over of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur to a Joint Venture Company (JVC) comprising of Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) Ltd., with 49% and 51% equity respectively, for upgradation of the Airport to a world class Multi Modal International Passenger and Cargo Hub in accordance with the MoU signed on 18th December 2006. AAI has been permitted to invest an amount of Rs. 4.90 crores in the equity of the JVC.

VI Bilateral Agreements

Amendments of Air Services Agreements (ASAs) with foreign countries - Keeping in view the recent developments in the civil aviation sector, and with a view to modernize and update the existing ASAs with foreign countries as per the ICAO templates, bilateral air services consultations were held in 2009 with foreign countries viz. Qatar, France, Netherlands. Nepal, Portugal, Kenya, Azerbaijan and Czech Republic and the respective ASAs have been amended and finalized.

· Implementation of India – EU Horizontal Agreement - As part of implementation of the horizontal agreement with EU, Air Service Agreements on Co-operative marketing arrangements, Liberalization for all cargo services, Inter-modal services and Routing flexibility have been completed with UK, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, France and Czech Republic.

VII Helicopter Operations

In a move to add new customers and increase deployment of helicopters, Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd. (PHHL) has deployed helicopters for hotline washing of insulators of the Power Transmission Lines, Pipeline Surveillance of the Gas Authority of India Ltd. and for emergency and administrative purposes in Lakshdweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

To enhance religious tourism, PHHL offered helicopter services to the Vaishno Devi Shrine, Kedarnath Shrine and Amarnath Shrine.

The Company has secured Operation & Maintenance Contract of 2 Dhruv helicopters of ONGC and 4 Dhruv helicopters of Ministry of Home Affairs/BSF from HAL.

DDA has allotted 25 acres land near Rohini for construction of First integrated Heliport in the Country. The work pertaining to construction of boundary wall is being undertaken shortly. DDA has earmarked one hectare land for construction of helipad at Commonwealth Games Village site. The work pertaining to boundary wall, earth filling etc. are nearing completion stage thereafter PHHL will start work for construction of helipad and other infrastructure work.

PHHL has submitted a detailed project report to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for development of Hadapsar Gliding Center, Pune as Helicopter Training Institute and Heliport.

Two roof top helipads, Taj Welington Mews Roof Top Helipad, Mumbai and ESSAR Roof Top Helipad, Mumbai have been given operational authorization for helicopter operations.

PHHL has set up in September, 2009 DGCA approved training institute for helicopter technicians and engineers named as "Pawan Hans Helicopters Training Institute (PHTI)" at Mumbai and is in the process of enrolling 30 students in the first batch.

VIII Initiatives and Achievements of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)

· Instructions have been issued for the modernization of the security systems at the airports through upgradation of the gadgets like perimeter intrusion detection system, CCTV surveillance, Explosive detection devices etc among others. In this connection, 7 AVSEC orders and 18 circulars have been issued so far.
Central Committee has taken over the duties of the Aerodrome Committee which had been constituted at the IGI Airport, New Delhi to deal with any situation in the eventuality of hijacking.

· A decision had been taken to shift ‘Committee of Secretariat and the Central Committee Control Room from IGI Airport to Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan for better coordination at the time of crisis.

IX Air India

Acquisition of aircraft by NACIL has been on schedule.

· The Government on February 17, 2009 gave post-facto approval to the formation of Joint Venture Companies between the National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) and M/s. Singapore Air Terminal Services (SATS) for Cargo Handling and Ground Handling services.

No comments: