Terms it the single most important policy decision that would transform the sector

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Sunday termed the 49 per cent FDI in aviation the single most important policy decision that would transform the country’s civil aviation sector.

While speaking at the 11th Routes Asia Conference here, he said various policy measures taken by the government had begun to yield results and hoped that the general aviation business would emerge as an important player of regional connectivity and economic development. “The Tata-Air Asia proposal and interest shown Etihad are examples of growing business confidence in the Indian civil aviation sector.”

He said the government liberalised grant of traffic rights to Indian carriers to boost international air travel. “The new traffic rights have opened up several new international sectors and increased the traffic entitlements of our carriers by approximately 60 per cent,” he said, urging all stakeholders to engage in joint promotion of ‘Brand India’.

The Minister made it clear that government’s thrust on infrastructure development would continue. “Indian government expects investment of US $ 12.1 billion during the 12th plan period, of which US $ 9.3 billion is expected to come from the private sector,” he said. Besides the four Public Private Partnership (PPP) airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, the Airports Authority of India had modernised Kolkata and Chennai airports and was developing 35 other non-metro airports. The ongoing modernisation and expansion being carried out at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport would enable it to handle up to 40 million passengers annually.

The construction of the new international airport to be built in Maharashtra at Navi Mumbai to lessen the burden on the existing airport at Mumbai has been delayed due to objections over land acquisitions. Chief Secretary of Maharashtra Chief Secretary J.K. Banthia said that 70 per cent of the land acquisition for the airport had been completed. The Navi Mumbai airport was originally scheduled to commence operations by 2015-16.

Routes Asia is key event for airports, airlines, policymakers and tourism authorities to network and explore growth opportunities. Over 160 international delegates, representing 88 airlines, are participating in the ongoing conference.

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