Need to increase fleet size after 2011: Praful Patel

New Delhi: To cope with the rising number of air passengers, there is a need for additional aircraft even after delivery of the current lot contracted for is completed by 2011, civil aviation minister, Praful Patel, informed the parliament through a written reply.

According to the minister, the National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL), formed after the merger of flag carrier Air India and domestic carrier, Indian Airlines, has also informed the ministry about the need for additional aircraft.

The minister was responding to written queries from a member of the Lok Sabha.

The minister also informed the member and the Lower House of the parliament that an in-house Joint Working Group has been constituted by NACIL to prepare a concept paper on strategic network and capacity deployment.

Patel also said that, so far, no decision had been taken for launching IPOs of the respective airlines. He also mentioned that there was a shortage of Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) in the country in response to a separate query.

"As against the sanctioned strength of 1707, there are 1504 ATCOs," he said.

The shortage has risen due to sudden and unprecedented growth of air traffic in the recent years, Patel said.