Monday, October 04, 2021

Aviation: Laying runway for sector’s take-off

Coming in the wake of the challenges posed by Covid-19, the 100-day plan announced by the civil aviation ministry recently is a part of the Centre’s agenda to tap the full potential of India’s aviation sector. Modernising and expanding airports, boosting the Udaan and the Krishi Udaan schemes, simplifying aircraft leasing, incentivising maintenance, repairs and operations (MROs), linking MROs with MSMEs, and enabling defence-civil convergence on aerospace technology are among the important features of this agenda.

The 100-day plan needs to be seen against the backdrop of the‘Lifeline Udan’ flights launched last year, which transported 1,000 tons of essential cargo to remote parts of the country. Entailing an allocation of Rs 1,200 crore, the plan focusses on 16 areas – of which four relate to infrastructure, eight to policy measures and four to reforms – and would extend from August 30th to November 30th. The ministry has also announced a new policy for Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) activities.

On the to-do list for the 100-day plan are operationalisation of the Kushinagar airport in Uttar Pradesh and a new terminal at the Dehradun airport, estimated to have cost Rs 457 crore. The government is also spending Rs 490 crore to upgrade the capacity of the Agartala airport from 500 to 1,200 passengers per hour and will develop six new heliports in Himachal and Uttarakhand.

Rise in air travel would create a demand for 2,380 new commercial airplanes by 2038, a Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) report has projected. To cater to such demand, the government has planned increasing the number of operational airports from the present 155 to 200 by 2040. Funding is not likely to be an issue for the ministry’s agenda since the commerce ministry expects the industry to receive investments of Rs 35,000 cr in the next four years.

04/10/21 Indronil Roychowdhury/Financial Express

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