Restrictions on Utilisation of Indian Airspace to Be Eased: FM
Sitharaman said that the move will bring about a total benefit of Rs. 1,000 crores per year for the aviation sector.
Restrictions on the utilisation of Indian airspace will be eased so that civilian flying becomes more efficient, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday, 16 May, while announcing the fourth tranche of the 20 lakh crore economic package announced under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’.
Sitharaman added that the move will bring about a total benefit of Rs. 1,000 crores per year for the aviation sector.
The finance minister also announced that six more airports will be on auctioned on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis and that there would be Rs 13,000 crore additional investment by private players in 12 airports.
“As of today only 60 percent of India’s airspace is freely available. This needs to be increased and optimised. This will save cost of fuel, time. This is being done to give civil aviation a boost," Sitharaman said.
The finance minister also added that India will become a global hub for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of aircrafts. She said that once a hub is set up, India will be a market for foreign airlines to get MRO done. She also added that the move will not just benefit civil aircrafts but also defence aircrafts.
Reiteration of Past Announcements
While the finance minister made these announcements as a relief measure due to the outbreak of coronavirus, it is imperative to note that a few of them were repeated earlier.
- Restrictions to be eased for better airspace utilisation: In June 2019, Airport Authority of India (AAI) had signed an agreement with Boeing to develop air traffic management roadmap. This move was aimed at improving airspace utilisation, help maintain efficient operations, enhance communications, invest in navigation, and air traffic management.
- India will become a global hub for MRO of aircrafts: In August 2019, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that the government is working in the direction of making India a “MRO and leasing hub”.
- Privatisation of airports: Six airpots were privatised earlier in 2019 and AAI had recommend the privatisation of six more airports in December last year.
In her previous briefings, FM Sitharaman has announced a slew of measures, of which eight relate to strengthening infrastructure, capacities and building better logistics, while the remaining three pertain to governance and administrative reform. Sitharaman also shared relief measures for the migrant workers, farmers, street vendors, and marginal traders.
(With inputs from BloombergQuint, PIB and LiveMint)
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