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Chopper service to Kodai, Rameswaram

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ADDRESSING ISSUES: K. Ramalingam, chairman, Airports Authority of India, speaking at the inaugural of a two-day seminar organised by the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Madras Institute of Technology, on Friday. Photo: A. Muralitharan.
ADDRESSING ISSUES: K. Ramalingam, chairman, Airports Authority of India, speaking at the inaugural of a two-day seminar organised by the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Madras Institute of Technology, on Friday. Photo: A. Muralitharan.

Staff Reporter

More corporate houses waiting to start airlines

TAMBARAM: Though air travellers have constituted only three per cent of the total number of passengers using all transport modes in the country, the civil aviation sector is growing at a drastic pace.

However, there is a mismatch between capacity and requirement, said K. Ramalingam, Chairman of Airports Authority of India, on Friday.

Addressing a two-day seminar on ``Changing Trends in Civil Aviation,'' organised by the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Madras Institute of Technology, Chromepet, the AAI chief said there were 300 aircraft in the country at present, compared to 900 in China.

500 aircraft in five years

Nearly 40 million passengers travelled by air every year, compared to 138 million in China, Dr. Ramalingam said. Civil aviation fields in India and China were the fastest growing regions in Asia-Pacific, the AAI chief said, adding that many more corporate houses were waiting to start new airline companies. Many were waiting for their applications to be cleared for starting new companies and existing ones were waiting for government nod to purchase new aircraft, he said.

``Operators would buy 500 aircraft including A-380 in the next five years,'' Dr. Ramalingam said. To keep pace with the demand, infrastructure development in terms of expansion and improvement of the existing facilities and creation of new ones were imperative.

"An estimated Rs. 40,000 crores would be spent by 2010," he said.

Of the 454 airports and airstrips, including abandoned and unused ones, the AAI had under its fold 127 airports, including 15 international ones. Of them 35 were non-metro airports and Rs. 7,000 crore would be spent for their development.

In order to expand air services to remote areas and pilgrim spots, the Government would soon be launching helicopter services.

There would be helicopter links from Madurai to Kodaikanal and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, when the services commenced, Mr. Ramalingam said.

Need for an Authority

D. Viswanathan, Vice-Chancellor of Anna University, called for the constitution of a Civil Aviation Authority to act as a facilitator to prescribe and enforce minimum standards for all agencies and settle disputes with regard to abuse of monopoly and ensure a level-playing field for all agencies.

The Authority's objectives should be to ensure safety, security and effective regulation, Dr. Viswanathan said. The country should explore the possibility of excelling in traveller's supporting services, engine overhaul, small avionics facility, and composite training for pilots, engineers, technicians and cabin crew, he said.

A. Joseph Stanley, Head, Department of Aerospace Engineering, said the two-day seminar was aimed at exposing students to new trends in field and give them an opportunity to interact with professionals and experts in the industry.

S. Kanagasabapathy, Dean, MIT, was also present.

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