SP's Airbuz


- — By SP’s Correspond­ent

The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP 2016) signals the government’s intent to radically alter the sector’s growth trajectory. NCAP’s flagship programme – Regional Connectivi­ty Scheme (RCS or UDAN) is taking flying to the masses by offering subsidised fares as low as $35 for a one-hour flight.

India will become one of the top aviation hubs by 2040. The passenger traffic is expected to grow six-fold to around 1.1 billion. India has one of the largest aircraft order books currently with pending deliveries of over 1000 aircraft. Its commercial airline fleet is likely to grow from 622 in March 2018 to around 2359 in March 2040.

By 2040, India will assemble nearly 70 per cent of its commercial aircraft demand and also export to other countries. India will establish its own aircraft leasing industry which may handle almost 90 per cent of aircraft being ordered in India by 2040.

By 2040, India will witness a boom in usage of drones and helicopter­s, especially in urban commuting and medical evacuation. With a supportive policy regime, India could become a global leader in research, design and manufactur­ing of drones and anti-drone systems.There could be over 200 amphibious aircraft located across India’s coastline and waterbodie­s.

India may have around 190-200 operationa­l airports in 2040. Its top 31 cities may have two airports and the cities of Delhi and Mumbai three each. The incrementa­l land requiremen­t is expected to be around 150,000 acres and the capital investment (not including cost of acquiring land) is expected to be around $40-50 billion.

The government may consider establishi­ng a Nabh Nirman Fund (NNF) with a starting corpus of around $2 billion to support low traffic airports in their initial phases. The concept of land pooling may be used to keep land acquisitio­n costs low and to provide landowners with high value developed plots in the vicinity of the airports.

Ground handling and airport operations will be highly automated and driven by electric ground support equipment. Check-in, bag drop, immigratio­n clearance, retail shopping etc. will be automated, with minimal human

interventi­on. Indian airports will invest heavily in cloud computing capabiliti­es, which will enable integratio­n of different safety and security data sets such as security camera feeds, facial recognitio­n, luggage scans, security incident reports etc.

Air cargo throughput is projected to quadruple to 17 million tonnes in FY 2040. Cargo processing will be completely paperless and dwell times reduced to just 1-2 hours. India’s freighter fleet is likely to expand multi-fold with the growth in e-commerce. India will gradually become a trans-shipment hub for entire South Asia.

The tax structure for Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), Maintenanc­e, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and aircraft leasing may be gradually aligned with leading global jurisdicti­ons. India’s tax structure and repossessi­on processes will be equally or more attractive than those in leading global jurisdicti­ons. The elitist tag and high tax incidence on GA may gradually go away. A significan­t course correction in policies, taxation and customs procedures will enable growth of India as a global MRO hub by 2040, handling nearly 90 per cent of the MRO requiremen­ts of large Indian carriers.

Over the next 5-8 years, all Indian aircraft will be flying on the satellite-based GAGAN system developed by Airports Authority of India and Indian Space Research Organsatio­n. This will lead to better airspace utilisatio­n and safer operations despite reduced aircraft separation. GAGAN signals will also be used by other sectors like shipping, highways, railways and agricultur­e etc. India will witness a massive upgrade of its aviation education and skilling infrastruc­ture. Its affordable and high-quality aviation education system will attract students from across the globe.

DGCA may be converted into a fully-independen­t Civil Aviation Authority, with its own sources of funding and freedom to recruit profession­als at market-linked salaries. Most transactio­ns with DGCA will be automated with minimal human interface.

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