Civil Aviation Ministry working on new policy

New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry has started working overtime to formulate a new policy to cater to the latest concerns of the aviation industry, especially issues relating to its sustainability like jet fuel pricing, infrastructure, airfare pricing, safety and security.

A meeting of major stakeholders and senior Ministry officials was held today to list the entire gamut of issues, elicit the views of the industry and service providers and work out a consensus on the new Civil Aviation Policy, official sources said.

The meeting decided that all stakeholders should provide their opinion on the proposed policy by mid-February. The views would be put up on an official website for comments by all other stakeholders immediately thereafter, they said.

Apart from airline and airport representatives, the meeting, chaired by Ministry Joint Secretary G Ashok Kumar, was attended among others by officials of consultancy firm KPMG, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), industry bodies FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM.

The next meeting the Ministry would have with the stakeholders is likely to be held next month, they said.

ASSOCHAM suggested a separate air cargo policy to tone up infrastructure, formulation of a regulatory framework and induct modern technology in the fast-growing industry.

Projecting that 200 freighter planes would be required in the next 20 years, it said the government should upgrade infrastructure, attract domestic investment and ease FDI norms. It also suggested giving the sector infrastructure status and jet fuel a declared good to attract a flat four per cent sales tax across the country. (More) PTI ARC

The sources said the new policy would aim at encouraging private sector investments and lay emphasis on setting up an air cargo promotion board.

An economic regulatory mechanism for airfare pricing is also likely to form part of the new policy as in recent months airlines have been accusing each other of charging very low fares to show improved aircraft occupancy.

Lessons from the recent financial surveillance, an exercise carried out by the regulator DGCA to ensure that safety is not compromised by the cash-strapped carriers, is also likely to be included in the policy framework, the sources said.