Civil aviation sector looking at rapid growth: Zaidi

India will sigh a bilateral agreement with US on aviation safety

sweta-ranjan

Sweta Ranjan | July 15, 2011



Civil aviation sector in the country has registered phenomenal growth in the past decade and has the potential to grow further, civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi said here on Thursday. Zaidi said that India is one of the fastest growing aviation market and is expected to break into the top club by 2020. It is poised to be the third largest domestic market in the sector by then, behind US and China.

Passenger traffic has grown at 18 percent annually over the last decade, with 90 million passengers flying in 2010 alone. Given the current rate of growth, the domestic market is set to fly 450 million passengers annually by 2020.

In the last two decades, from a fleet of only about 100, the scheduled operators today have 435 aircrafts connecting cities across the nation and the world.

Experts believe the concentration of international flights will shift towards the Asia-Pacific region in the future. Thus, India's geographic location gives it the potential to be an aviation hub, at the crossroads between Europe/West Asia and the Asia Pacific.

Zaidi informed that T-3 terminal at the Delhi International Airport is already evolving into a hub. About 11,000 passengers are transitiing to different destinations in the world by utilizing spoke and hub system. "Air India is already contributing to this growth as is Jet Airways," the secretary remarked.

It is also proposed to develop Mumbai and Chennai as hubs in next 2 years.

Zaidi was speaking at a curtain raiser to the India Aviation 2012 exihibition that will be held on March 14-18, 2012.

He also shared the civil aviation ministry's proposal for regulation of the sector that would ensure saftey of passengers. The highlights of the proposal are listed below:

* The ministry is considering restructuring the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) into a civil aviation authority (CAA). In order to prevent repetitive accidents, an independent civil aviation accident investigation committee (CAAIC) has been set up within the mandate of the ministry to coordinate and oversee the investigation into accidents and also ensure effective follow-up of compliance of recommendations. Steps are under way to set up a full-fledged independent accident investigation board.

* A landmark bilateral aviation safety agreement has been approved by the cabinet and will be signed with USA, during the visit of Hilary Clinton, US secretary of state. The proposed agreement will open up huge market for export of aeronautical products manufactured in the country in USA and other regions of the world. This will open up huge potential for investment.

* There will be greater emphasis on the passengers’ facilities and consumer protection to secure the rights at all times.  Significant steps for consumer protection has been on disability-related rights, refunds, cancellations, delays, over-bookings and denied boardings. Zaidi suggested that airlines and airports should compete with each other in offering to passengers better of facilities, services and protection of their rights.

* A task force is working in the ministry to prepare an outline to set up an ombudsman institution in civil aviation sector. Ministry of civil aviation has also set up an innovation council to suggest primarily IT-led innovations to improve products, services and customer related matters by airlines, airports and air traffic management service providers.

* The ministry is reviewing a policy of route dispersal guidelines to enhance connectivity in inaccessible areas and islands of the country. With a view to increase regional connectivity, regulatory framework pertaining to schedule and regional operators is also currently being reviewed to ensure that regional connectivity gets boost with the support of airports authority of India (AAI) and private sector participating in the development of Tier II and Tier III cities. A task force is also working to examine the ways and means required to cut transaction time, cost and various other measures to simplify procedures to improve business environment with regulatory authorities.

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