India needs a clear aviation policy that promotes healthy investment and addresses the factors retarding the growth of the air transport sector, Chairman of Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya has said.

Delivering the presidential address at the 63 annual general body meeting of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) on Friday, Mr. Mallya, who is also the president of the society, said air operators in the country were facing adverse financial and operating conditions. Issues of taxation, user development fee and high input costs were affecting the aviation sector, one of the major drivers of economic growth.

“Despite the rapid growth of the past decade, the number of trips undertaken per capita in India still remains low at 0.04 compared to 0.25 in Brazil, 0.54 in Malaysia and 0.15 in China,” Mr. Mallya said, adding that a clear civil aviation policy would help address the industry's needs.

In his inaugural address, P.S. Veeraraghavan, director, VSSC, said India was emerging a strong contender in all fields of aerospace and aviation industry. A national conference on Advances in Thermophysics and Heat Transfer in Aerospace was organised in connection with the annual general body meeting of the society.

In his address, S. Ramakrishnan, director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), underlined the importance of bringing together experts in various fields for the indigenisation of propulsion systems.

Mr. Mallya also presented the National Aeronautical Prize instituted by the society to Mr. Veeraraghavan for his contribution to the development of satellite launch vehicle technologies.

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