Civil aviation policy: Government studying stakeholders’ views

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju Monday informed the parliamentary consultative committee of his ministry that the government is examining stakeholders’ comments on the draft civil aviation policy.

The minister said that detailed discussions have been held with all the stakeholders of the aviation industry to finalise measures required to quickly put the sector back on a growth trajectory.
The minister pointed out that India is witnessing a rapid growth in air traffic.
Latest data shows that during 2013-14 domestic airlines carried 602.3 lakh passengers, up from 576.5 lakh passengers carried during the corresponding period the previous year, representing a growth of 4.5 percent.
“Latest IATA (International Air Transport Association) data shows that the growth is the second highest globally after Russia’s 10 percent,” the minister said.
He further informed the committee members that currently there are nearly 400 aircraft operated by scheduled airlines, which may increase substantially in the next ten years.
He also said that new airlines have come up with foreign investment which indicates global interest and confidence in the Indian aviation market.
On rationalization of the price of jet fuel, the minister said the centre will take up the issue with all state governments at a meeting called Dec 30 and request them to reduce value added tax on air turbine fuel (ATF).
The committee was also informed that the petroleum and natural gas ministry has also been requested to review the pricing mechanism for ATF, as in India the price of ATF is about 30 percent higher than other countries in the region.
The minister also mentioned that the existing route dispersal guidelines are being reviewed in order to achieve better air connectivity to under served areas.
Raju added that as the number of aircraft grows, there will be an increasing requirement for aircraft maintenance and repair facilities within the country.
“As most of MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) 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,” Raju added.
Currently, the required taxation and infrastructure issues are being addressed by the ministry in consultation with the finance ministry to facilitate development of Indian MROs.