MEETING THE EVER-GROWING NEED
With the civil aviation sector growing by leaps and bounds, India seems to be on cusp of civil aviation revolution. As per the projections, India's domestic air travel shall cross 100 million passengers in FY2017 and is likely to overtake Japan this year to become the world's third largest domestic market behind the USA and China.
To review the advancements being made, ASSOCHAM organized its 10th Civil Aviation Conference on 30th August, 2017. Mr. Jayant Sinha, Union Minister, while inaugurating the conference, highlighted that this is the sunrise sector of growth and that the government wants the sector's outreach to the common man by making it affordable. The 'UDAN' (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)is a step towards it. The UDAN Scheme aims at providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing airstrips and airports. It aims to develop the regional aviation market and make flying affordable.
Over the last year, the domestic traffic grew around 20% and the international traffic by around 8%. To cater to such growing needs, there is an urgent need to develop existing and new airports.
"Going ahead, the Civil Aviation Ministry is working on a four-pronged strategy to enhance capacity of airports across India", said Mr. Sinha. While the Ministry is simultaneously working on enhancing capacity at major airport hubs of Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, it is also working on developing new green-field and brown-field airports and smaller airports in tier III and IV cities.
"We are significantly adding green-field capacity, we are examining brown-field PPP (public private
partnership) models for mid-sized airports and we are also looking at very cost effective ways of commissioning and operating smaller tier III and IV heliports," said Mr. Sinha.
"Just like the way we have opened up the tier III and IV airports during UDAN round-I, our expectation is that we will open up all helipads, smaller air-strips in the hilly areas of states like Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and in the north-east," said Mr Sinha.
Adding that it is possible through a supportive set of policy measures to be able to open up more remote locations for air connectivity under second round of UDAN, the Minister said that government expects tremendous support from helicopteroperators, NSOPs (non scheduled air operators) and others in this regard.
"We think that just like the fixed-wing order book has started to bulge, our expectation is that we will seea tremendous upsurge in demand for helicopter flying in India and that we think will enable us to take the number of operational commercially available helicopters in India, which is just 200 to a higher magnitude," he said.
Terming the first round of UDANas a game-changer,he said that 31 new airports have been added to the aviation network under this scheme, while in contrast, post-independence only 70 airports had been added to aviation network.
The Minister further informed that bulk of these 31 airports (2829) that have come up under the first round ofUDAN scheme will be up and running by September 30. "The few will be remaining because we are stilltrying to work out some of the logisticsand some of the permissions necessary to activate these airports."
Addressing the ASSOCHAM 10th Civil Aviation Conference, Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Union Minister for Civil Aviation said India's civilaviation has gone up to number four from number ten, in globalranking and we aspire to become number one.
He alsosaid that second edition ofUDANschemewill help India's civil aviation sector sustain the current 15-20 per cent growth along with various supportive policy measures. The modalities of the same would be decided through the bidding processes, which started recently, with select changes to bolster connectivity in hilly and difficult terrain.
Another point of highlight was the huge orders for aircraftsplaced by the Indian airline industry. Currently, a total of 880 aircrafts are on order, with most of the orders placed by low-costcarriers. This is because the of the rising demand and supported policy regimes.
In his address at the ASSOCHAMconference, Mr. O. P. Singh, DirectorGeneral, Central
Industrial Security Force (CISF) which is looking after security of all 59 airports in the country said, "We are all geared up for the kind of scenario that has been projected and anticipated and we have already prepared a whitepaper on that."
"We have also been projecting the future requirements in the years tocomeand with the support of Ministry of Civil Aviation and all important stakeholders, the CISFwould play its pivotal role in making the journey very-very memorable and very experienced one," said Mr. Singh.
He also said that second edition ofUDANschemewill help India's civil aviation sector sustain the current 15-20 per cent growth along with various supportive policy measures. The modalities of the same would be decided through the bidding processes, which started recently, with select changes to bolster connectivity in hilly and difficult terrain.
While addressing the audience, Mr. R. N. Chaubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, informed that Indian AirForcehas allowed Hindon air force base to be used for regional connectivity in winter, to support the Delhi airport which witnesses heavy air traffic.
The ministry, would act on requests from airlinesifthey want to use a defence airfield and the matter would be taken up with the defence ministry, he added.
Mr. Choubey further said that the main change is priority areahilly stateslikeJ&Kand Andaman and Nicobar. He said the Udaan II is going to be very significant. another 300 destinations over next 3-4 years under the regional connectivity scheme.
Emphasising the Udaan schemehas spurred development of ground infrastructure; Mr Choubey said while just 75 airports were built in 70 years after independence, as many as 33 airports were added in one year to March 2017.
'We have to takeGMRon board and we are reasonably confident that we willbe in a position to sort out the contract related issues with GMR as far as Hindon is concerned. We have some slot constraints for the smaller aircraft which are flying under the regional connectivity scale because smaller aircrafts are also slower aircraft and therefore they take much longer time than the larger aircraft'.
On the development of the Jewar airport, we found that regional connectivity second bidding round; we expect significant demand for slots from Delhi and recognise that it may be difficult for Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) to provide all those slots for regional connectivity at Delhi airports.
Amid others who addressed the conference included, Mr. Sandeep Jajodia, President, ASSOCHAM; Mr K. Narayan Rao, Chairman, National Council on Civil Aviation; Mr. Kamal Hingorani, co-chairman and Mr. Pawan Kumar Agrawal, Senior President, Corporate Finance, Infrastructure Banking, YESBank.
(L-R)Mr. Sunil Arora, Secretary General, ACAAI, Or. Subhash Goyal, Chairman, Stic Travels Pvt. itd., Mr. Vivek Gout, MD & CEO, Air Works India, Mr. Amber Dubey, Partner, KPMG, Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Hon'ble Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Got, Or. John Joseph, IRS, Director General, GSTCouncil, Ministry of Finance, Gol, Mr. Keku Bomi Gazder, CEO, AAI Cargo Logistics and AAICLAS, Mr. Dinkar Singh, Head - Regulatory Affairs, DHL Express India. (L-R) Mr. Pawan Kumar Agrawal, Senior President, Corporate Finance Infrastructure Banking, YESBank, Mr. P Singh, IPS, DG, ClSF;Mr. Jayant Sinha, Hori'ble Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Got, Mr. Sandeep Jajodia, President, ASSOCHAM, Mr. Kamal Hingorani, Co-chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Civil Aviation. 0.
(L-R)Mr. Sunil Arora, Secretary General, The Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI), Or. Subhash Goyal, Chairman, Gout. Mo Stic TravelsPvt. Ltd, Mr. Vivek & CEO, Air Works India, Mr. Amber Dubey, Partner, KPMG, Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Hon 'ble Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Gol, Or. John Joseph, IRS, Director General, GSTCouncil, Ministry of Finance, Gol, Mr. Keku Bomi Gazder, CEO, AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Ltd (AAICLAS), Mr. oinkar Singh, Head - Regulatory Affairs, oHL Express India.
Mr. Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation addressing the audience.