Ashok Gajapathi Raju
MINISTER FOR CIVIL AVIATION
AIR INDIA DID WELL this year to offload unruly politician Ravindra Gaikwad, a move that had Ashok Gajapathi Raju’s backing. If only he could offload the airline’s accumulated losses of Rs 48,000 crore. AI, however, is only one area of concern. The understaffed Directorate General of Civil Aviation—it has one inspector for four aircraft whereas smaller countries like Malaysia have 1.5 regulators to one aircraft—is another. This even as India became the world’s third largest air travel market with over 100 million passengers last year. A 2017 report by Martin Consulting notes that while India is fairly compliant when it comes to licensing operations and airworthiness, it lags on aviation legislation, accident investigation, regulatory organistional setup and aerodrome infrastructure.