Centre to set up Civil Aviation Authority

New Delhi: With air traffic growing, the government today said it would set up a Civil Aviation Authority to make air travel safe and secure and take steps to modernise more airports and air traffic management services.

It would also set up an independent air accident probe panel and initiate measures to protect the interests of air travellers.

These promises were made by the government in President Pratibha Patil`s address to the joint sitting of Parliament. "Measures will be taken to protect the interests of air travellers. A bill will be introduced this year for a Civil Aviation Authority to ensure safe, secure and affordable air services," Patil said.

She said an independent Air Accident Investigation Board would also be constituted and "air traffic management services and airports will be upgraded and modernised".

A legislation to set up a powerful Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for better regulation of the aviation sector has already been drafted and was in an advanced stage of getting the official nod, official sources said. They said the draft was being vetted by the Law Ministry and would be taken up by the Union Cabinet for approval before it is placed in Parliament.

The functions and powers of the proposed CAA, which would replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), have been based primarily on the British model.

It would have financial and administrative autonomy to take expeditious decisions on matters relating to a range of activities – from regulation of air traffic services and licensing to ensure financial fitness of airlines, they said.