A study on creating no-frills airports in the country has been completed and the Civil Aviation Ministry is looking at the feasibility of generating an environment for a new kind of aviation, said S. Machendranathan, Additional Secretary in the Ministry, here on Saturday.
Speaking at an interactive session on ‘Aviation Cargo Industry: A Vital Link in Logistics’, organised by the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Mr. Machendranathan said that the no-frills airports would be created in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The idea was to create connectivity for regional and remote areas. The airports would boost economic activity and smaller aircraft could be operated.
To upgrade the skills of personnel in the industry, the Ministry proposed to start an Aviation University and had appointed a consultant. It was in the process of creating a Civil Aviation Authority, which would replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the regulatory authority. A draft bill had been prepared, which would ensure that the authority had more powers and acted as a better regulatory agency.
The Ministry was concentrating on four important aspects — connectivity to remote areas by promoting tier 2 and tier 3 cities; upgrading manpower skills required for the industry; strengthening the regulatory body and modernisation.
Yeshwant Bhave, Chairman, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), justified the introduction of user development fee at the new terminals here. The Airports Authority of India had created the facility and incurred expenditure, which it was recovering.
Mr Bhave said that the Chennai airport had a good air cargo terminal. The airport could emerge as a hub not only for passenger movement but also cargo transportation. Space was not a constraint for the cargo terminal.
The demand for air cargo transportation has increased significantly over the last few years, said Jawahar Vadivelu, president of the SICCI. This was due to the increase in demand for rapid delivery of products. Changing business models such as ‘Just-in-time’ manufacturing and global outsourcing had contributed to the rapid growth of air cargo logistics.
Historically, sea cargo has been the most dominant form of shipping cargo from and to India, while air cargo accounted only for a negligible proportion of the total cargo trade within the country. The main goods transported by air are perishables, pharmaceuticals, garments, textiles, electronics and vulnerable cargo besides express mail items with the time definite delivery, he said.