Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Working on gradually removing caps for airlines: Aviation secretary Pradeep Kharola

New Delhi: Outgoing aviation secretary Pradeep Kharola, who retires on September 30, said the Ministry of Civil Aviation is working towards gradually removing caps on airfare and capacity. In an interview with India Today TV, Pradeep Kharola spoke about many plans including drone taxis, caps of airfares and capacity and the much-awaited Air India disinvestment.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) recently went live with the Airspace map, earmarking green, yellow and red zones for civil drone operations in the country. This came in the wake of fresh drone use rules that were notified on 26 August.

Elaborating on the move, Pradeep Kharola said, “The response from the (drone) industry has been very good, and they are quite upbeat about the new rules and the incentive provided through the PLI policy. Drones open up immense possibilities. First and foremost are service and product deliveries in difficult to access areas. That can happen very easily now. Supply of vaccines or medicines is one example of that.”

In the transportation segment, Kharola said, air taxis are no longer a distant probability. “Work on drone taxis has started. A drone taxi is a certainty. The question is when. The way the models are being designed and research is being done, it’s going to happen fast,” he said.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia was recently given a presentation by Yogesh Iyer, founder of Vinata Aeromobility, on the development of hybrid flying cars by his company.

Speaking to India Today TV, Iyer said the prototype could be ready by the first quarter of 2023.

The MCA is also gearing up accordingly. “What we have to gear up about is the regulatory side. These are flying aircraft after all! It has to be extremely safe we have to work on regulations for these taxis, which will be carrying human beings. This work has to happen with manufacturers since it’s new to us too,” Pradeep Kharola said.

28/09/21 Poulomi Saha/India Today

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