ANDHRA PRADESH

Ashok sees great potential for growth in aviation sector

Union Minister for Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju (second from left) with Principal Secretary (Energy) Ajay Jain, WBA-South Asia secretary Peter Jarman and Rear-Admiral Manish Singh, in Visakhapatnam on Monday.K.R. DEEPAK

Union Minister for Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju (second from left) with Principal Secretary (Energy) Ajay Jain, WBA-South Asia secretary Peter Jarman and Rear-Admiral Manish Singh, in Visakhapatnam on Monday.K.R. DEEPAK  

Three-day WBA conference gets under way in Vizag

There is a huge potential for growth in the aviation sector and the government is keen on tapping it, Minister for Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju has said.

At the inaugural of a three-day international conference on: ‘Bird/wildlife strike prevention’, organised by the World Birdstrike Association (WBA), South Asia, here on Monday, the Union Minister said that India, with 10 crore air passengers, was the third largest nation in the world in air passenger traffic.

One may wonder, why India was not taking the top slot. The reasons include: the habit of weighing the cost-benefit analysis or belief in savings for future and the second reason could be due to the need for development of more infrastructure, he opined.

Mr. Raju said that there were around 70 operational airports in the country and another 14 were developed during the past few years. An additional 65 were being developed.

Referring to the aspect of bird/wildlife hits to aircraft, the Union Minister said that it was not a new development.

“The speed of planes has gone up and noise levels have come down, thereby confusing the birds,” he said. The role of municipalities has increased in preventing dumping of garbage around airports. The density of population around airports has also gone up and the downtime of aircraft was also going up. All these factors need to be considered in coming up with remedial measures.

Safety aspect

Mr. Raju underlined the need for airports authorities to recognise the areas of concern and address them by involving all the stakeholders. He also touched on other aspects of safety like terrorist threats to aircraft and in a lighter vein he recalled the incidents of passengers being beaten up by airline staff and the other way round.

Ajay Jain, principal secretary, Energy, Infrastructure and Investment, Government of AP, said that India was poised to become the number one in the world in air passenger traffic by 2030. He spoke on the measures being taken by the State government to improve air connectivity from AP and to increase the air passenger traffic. They include reduction of VAT on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to 1% by the AP government.

Rear-Admiral Manish Singh, Chief Staff Officer (operations), Eastern Naval Command, said that the Navy was seized of the problem of bird hits at Vizag Airport and was in the process of mitigating them.

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