Draft civil aviation policy proposes to boost regional connectivity: minister

The new civil aviation policy, which among other things, will help enhance regional connectivity, is likely to be made public by the end of this month, minister for civil aviation Ashok Gajapati Raju said.

The draft policy proposes to enhance regional air connectivity, rationalise jet fuel cost, promote air cargo, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) and helicopter operations and improve passenger facilitation, the minister said.

The government also plans to revise the 5/20 norms, whereby domestic airlines are required to have at least five years operational experience and 20 aircraft, he said, adding that the government would seek views and suggestions from stakeholders and the public before finalising the policy.

Raju was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the International Civil Helicopters Conclave 2015, organised by Pawan Hans.

The civil aviation ministry had made a presentation on the policy to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August, following which it was decided to set up a committee of secretaries to build consensus on the proposed civil aviation policy.

The new policy, which has been in the works for quite some time, is looking at on improving air connectivity, apart from possible changes in overseas flying norms for domestic carriers.

The draft of the policy was earlier expected to be put up for public comments by September end. The finalisation of the civil aviation policy, however, has been delayed due to the home ministry flagging security concerns over allowing airlines to do their own ground handling

The minister called upon all stakeholders to come up with new ideas to give a boost to the civil aviation sector as a whole, and the helicopter industry in the country in particular.

He said that a new civil aviation policy is in the process of being drafted. Once it is ready, response and comments of stakeholders will be sought, so that a vibrant and forward looking policy can be put in place.

The minister also said that the facility of flying should not be restricted to only the privileged people in the country. ''We should put policies in place so that flying becomes affordable and reaches the masses,'' he said.

Raju said the government would give about 10 days time to the public to share their views after which the contours of the policy would be finalised for implementation.

''We are hopeful of completing the exercise (consultations with the stake holders) the policy should be out in public domain by the month end,'' Raju said on the sidelines of an international conference organised by Pawan Hans.