MEET­ING THE EVER-GROW­ING NEED

Assocham Bulletin - - INDUSTRY -

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, 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,...

(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,...

Mr. Jayant Sinha, Min­is­ter of State for Civil Avi­a­tion ad­dress­ing the au­di­ence.

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