The Inter-Ministerial Committee would look into bottlenecks in the development of aviation hubs.

Giving a big boost to the aviation sector, the Government has cleared wide ranging policy aimed at creating international and regional aviation hubs in the country.

It has also approved the constitution of an Inter-Ministerial Committee under the leadership of Secretary, Civil Aviation, for suggesting various measures to overcome the bottlenecks in the development of aviation hubs at various airports In India.

The new policy, approved by the Union Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday night, comes with the focus on tackling the increased air traffic in the coming years. The Inter-Ministerial Committee has been set up, as the creation of aviation hub in cities requires establishment of facilities like immigration, customs, provisions for visa-on-arrival and foreign exchange involving various Ministries.

Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh said the six metros with state-of-the-art airports that have been modernised and expanded include Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. However, the government came across a number of bottlenecks that needed immediate attention and rectification.

The new policy will focus on the need to coordinate the development of tourism and promotion of brand ‘India’ in a concerted manner; liberalise visa norms and extend ‘visa on arrival’ to as many countries as possible; look into the issue of present instructions of the Government which impose conditions on Indian passport holders as well as the foreign nationals with regard to carrying/spending Indian currency; exchange of their left over Indian currency into foreign currency in the security hold area respectively which acts as an impediment in development of hubs; study the ATF price and taxation issue which pose a road block for development of aviation hubs; focus on seeking removal of service charge on air travel in order to make air travel more attractive to passengers and thus improve prospects for the airline industry; encourage MRO business and study issues regarding confluence flights relating to immigration, security check.

In the last decade, India has witnessed a traffic growth rate of about 15 to 18 per cent, which is likely to continue in future also. Mr. Singh said development of these airports as aviation hubs would boost the growth of airlines, airports and would increase the flow of tourists to India.

The new policy not only focuses on developing global hubs in India but also on establishing domestic regional hubs to cater to the growing air traffic from non-metro destinations in remote areas, including the North-East. The government has been according high priority to provide air connectivity to remote, difficult and interior areas of the country and focussing on building and modernising airports in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

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