From Chairman’s Desk
India has witnessed tremendous growth in air traffic in the last decade and we are the fastest growing aviation market with 21% plus growth in the domestic sector in 2015-16. Growth of over 7% international as well as consistent domestic growth is expected in the coming years. The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) released recently by the Government is likely to propel the Indian aviation further by taking flying to the masses. Proactive policy is expected to be the ‘game Changer’ and would give momentum and impetus to the civil aviation sector in the country. The main focus of NCAP 2016 is on affordability, connectivity and ease of doing business in India through several policy initiatives and fiscal & monetary support. The regional connectivity scheme (RCS) under the policy is designed to connect India’s remote unconnected regions and provide a boost to tourism. The development of the airports in the remote regions will help in creating more jobs and stimulating the economy in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and country as a whole. Sub-sectors like MRO, Cargo, helicopters, general aviation and Make in India etc will get a fillip with liberalised operational norms and tax breaks. The much talked about 5/20 rule has been replaced with 0/20, which will definitely boost air operations beyond the borders.
On one of the other fronts, Government of India took the proactive step of approving the constitution of a National High Level Airspace Policy Body and the implementation of Flexible Use of Airspace in India in a Regional Conference held in May in New Delhi. The Regional Conference was attended by International Participants from various countries, ICAO, IATA besides Indian aviation fraternity. The conference provided a collective platform for brainstorming so as to share and discuss the global best practices. The meeting of minds allowed to revisit and re-engineer established policies thereby providing more efficient ways for implementation of Flexible Use of Airspace and providing a fillip to Civil Military Cooperation. The Flexible Use of Airspace under Civil Military Cooperation has facilitated introduction of several conditional routes which provide for shorter and direct routing through restricted airspaces with the cooperation of IAF, Navy and HAL. It is probably one of the few initiatives that in one stroke has contributed significantly to Safety, Efficiency, Capacity and Environment, the main focus areas of ICAO. I am glad to share that ICAO, in a statement has observed that India has performed creditably in Civil Military Cooperation and that ICAO recognizes the excellent work in progress. AAI being the largest airport operator and the sole authority responsible for managing the whole of the Indian airspace has played prime role in synergizing Civil Military Cooperation.
On the infrastructure front, AAI has taken major steps in upgrading the Air Navigation Services, ground infrastructure and airspace restructuring to enhance the safety, capacity and efficiency of airspace and airports. One of the major steps taken recently is “Upper Airspace Harmonization”. It enables safe and more efficient use of air space besides providing straighter routes resulting in lesser flying time of the aircraft thereby saving fuel and reducing emissions. The upper air space harmonization has been enabled by deployment of advance technology in form of overlapping surveillance cover through Radar/ads-b/multilateration combined with matching seamless air-ground communication and Automation systems. This has resulted in seamless connectivity throughout Indian air space. Results observed on airlines getting their preferred route, flight levels and carbon emission control after the deployment of new systems are very positive.
As a Chinese proverb goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. The above steps would certainly contribute in making India move towards one of the best air transportation service providers in the world. With India aiming to be the 3rd largest Civil Aviation Market by 2022 from 9th at present, AAI recognizes the need to strive for the highest standards in every field.
Sudhir Raheja, Chairman, AAI