National aviation policy mooted
New Delhi (PTI): Global airlines' body IATA asked the government to improve infrastructure and cut costs and...
New Delhi (PTI): Global airlines' body IATA asked the government to improve infrastructure and cut costs and "excessive" taxation on aviation, saying it could be done by preparing a national aviation policy in India. "Solutions to these (problems) must be coordinated across all ministries and levels of government. That is why I have called for India to formulate a national aviation policy. The call was not for special favours or preferential treatment. But rather for a coordinated policy framework that would facilitate growth," DG IATA Tony Tyler said. Addressing a CII conference on aviation, he stressed that a stronger aviation sector would act as a catalyst for wider economic benefits. "Growth is important for India�not just the aviation industry. Indian economic growth is running at about five percent. That's near-half of what it used to be. Sadly, once again Finance Minister P Chidambaram did not include the aviation industry in his plan, as a strong catalyst for economic growth�continuing to see it only as a source of taxation," Tyler said. Maintaining that aviation and aviation-related tourism in India supported 1.5 percent of GDP or over `90,000 crore of business and 1.8 percent of the workforce�which is 8.8 million jobs. "And these are good jobs. For those 1.7 million directly employed in transport, each generates about `1 crore in value added to the Indian economy�or about ten times the Indian average," the IATA chief said. The government should focus on improving infrastructure, reducing costs and evolving a more reasonable taxation structure. These remain "absolutely critical to India's long-term success," Tyler said. He suggested a series of measures that industry and government could take on a near-to-medium term to deliver tangible benefits, including in the fields of safety, security and e-freight. Referring to the proposal to establish a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to replace DGCA, he said India should take full advantage of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) to enhance capacity building and skill development. Pointing out that security was top priority not only of governments but also airlines the IATA chief was of the opinion that the current 'one-size-fits-all' perspective to security for both cargo and passengers was not sustainable. "We need an approach that focusses on outcomes and not processes. And we should make the best use of scarce resources by taking a risk-based approach�recognising that the vast majority of cargo and passengers pose absolutely no threat to aviation or national security," Tyler said. Kolkata, Chennai airports lookA for private managers New Delhi (PTI): Government is considering giving the management control of the new Kolkata and Chennai airports, built by the Airports Authority of India, to global operators through a competitive bidding process.A Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said that the AAI could set up joint ventures with major foreign airport operators to carry out operations and management of these two crucial metro airports. Addressing a CII meet on aviation here, he said, "The AAI could give management control of these airports through a competitive bidding process." Earlier, the AAI had suggested to a Planning Commission Task Force that the management and operation of these airports could be undertaken through the public-private partnership mode by setting up joint ventures between it and foreign airport operators. Maintaining that the Navi Mumbai airport had been delayed, the Minister said the Juhu Airport was being developed to augment the capacity of the Mumbai airport. Referring to the crucial issue of taxation on jet fuel, he said his Ministry was in consultations with the Petroleum and Finance Ministries for notifying aviation turbine fuel (ATF) under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act to protect the interests of airlines. "We are also trying to convince the state governments to reduce sales tax on ATF." AAI Chairman V P Aggarwal said the state-run airports body has proposed to set up joint ventures with private oil companies and airlines to meet the requirement of jet fuel, especially in remote parts of the country. Observing that aircraft flying to smaller airports in remote parts of the country have to carry fuel for their return journey as well, he said, "Such joint ventures will own the assets and (ATF) distribution network at the airports at these (remote) airports."