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In Focus

Monday, 11 February, 2019, 15 : 50 PM [IST]
Bringing India’s viability at the forefront

With a vision to welcome 1.1 billion air passengers annually by 2040, the first edition of Global Aviation Summit turned out to be a congregation of aircraft manufacturers, aviation and transport regulators, airport authorities, safety & security service providers, technology companies, MRO facilitators, aircraft leasing companies, ground transportation operators and helicopter, seaplane & drone operators. The two-day event on January 15 and 16 at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai was a platform to showcase to the world the aviation prowess of India and its growing dominance in the commercial airspace market despite ranking among nation’s with lowest airfares. Disha Shah Ghosh reports.

The first ever Global Aviation Summit, an initiative by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in association with FICCI and KPMG as the knowledge partner, turned out to be a complete show of strength for the world’s fastest growing aviation market. The two-day programme saw the top aviation brass of 18 nations congregating on a common platform to deliberate on the future of the commercial aviation market, various hurdles faced by the sector as well as a making a strong pitch for passenger drones and adopting sustainable measures to protect the environment. The 800-strong delegation at the event ensured there was not a single dull moment with its various high-profile panel discussions. With the theme of the Summit ‘Flying for All’, the message was loud and clear that despite the current turbulent times for airlines in India, time is opportune to tap the growth potential that the market demonstrates.

C Vidyasagar Rao Governor of Maharashtra with Suresh Prabhu & Jayant Sinha at the valedictory session

Addressing the audience at the Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai, Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry & Civil Aviation, Government of India, said that he is keen to position India as a MRO hub in a big way. “We have identified Nagpur with its ideal location as a global hub for MRO. We will provide all the support required in this regard.

Jayant Sinha unveiling the 'Drone Ecosystem policy Roadmap

He said that the government is working on creating a roadmap for manufacturing aircraft in India. “An aircraft with its million components requires multitude of companies to come together in the manufacturing process. We require global companies to collaborate and help us in this Make in India initiative.”

Aviation & Transport ministers sharing experiences and success stories

Prabhu said that to meet the current requirement for the aviation sector, India needs 2,300 aircraft, and therefore the country needs a dedicated manufacturing policy. He also spoke about marking air travel sustainable with the rapid increase in climate change as well as according utmost priority to safety and security.

Discussion on new-age solutions to transform global aviation

The event also saw the launch of the ‘Vision 2040’ document which envisages a nearly six-fold rise in passenger traffic from 187 million in FY 2018 to around 1,124 million in FY 2040. This includes around 821 million domestic passengers and around 303 million international passengers (to and from India). This projection is over six times of the 187 million traffic recorded in FY18.

Policy-makers deliberating on the safety & security standards for aviation growth.

Terming the document as a landmark for Indian aviation as well as the global market, Prabhu said it has been launched to address the immediate challenges and chart out a clear strategy to meet economic, social, technological and environment issues. “This Summit is the first ever mission to make India an aviation hub for development in India.”

Closed door ICAO member countries DGCAs, Civil Aviation Authority Roundtable

Echoing similar views, Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, Government of India, said that India is ready to become a world leader in the aviation space. “Air travel is cheaper than travelling in an auto rickshaw, this calculation is on a per person per kilometer basis. Airlines in India have developed affordable flying business models. Now, we are poised to build the world’s largest and sustainable drone ecosystem.”

Growth Projections
Setting the tone for Summit, RN Choubey, Secretary - Civil Aviation, Government of India, said that the domestic aviation market in India has recorded a consistent growth of 20% in the last 4 years, which is highest in the world. “This growth percentage will continue for the next 20 years if oil prices continue to behave (sic). India is a land of 1.3 billion people, and the next 7-8 years will see capacity addition of 1,000 more aircraft, and 100 new airports and a billion jets in next 15 years.”

Addressing an audience of 800 global delegates, including 14 Aviation Ministers and representatives of 35 DGCAs, over 100 CEOs, he said, “This growth will be inclusive and India will take the leadership position. This growth will be non-intimidating, making every stakeholder an important part of the growth story.”

Elaborating further on the drone policy, he said, “We are providing single-window clearance for drone operations, and the registration process went live on December. We have a No Permission No Fly (NPNT) mechanism to ensure that drones are compliant to fly without any hassle. Presently, the drones present in India are not retrofitted with NPNT firmware and software. As soon as manufacturers can bring in drones that are NPNT compliant, they can register the same.”

Airport Development in Maharashtra
According to Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the GVK CSIA (Mumbai Airport) in Mumbai with its world-class infrastructure is the most efficiently managed airport in the country. Moreover, he said, that the Navi Mumbai airport is likely to be operational by mid 2020. “I believe the Navi Mumbai airport will contribute 1% to the GDP.”

Fadnavis said that the airport in Pune is gaining popularity and the government is building a second airport to meet the demand, while the one in Shirdi is already operational.

Airline, Airport, Transport and IATA delegates at the session, ‘Airports of the Future & Building Great Aviation Businesses’.

According to Fadnavis, Nagpur because of its geographical advantage is just a 1.5 hr flying distance from all the metros in India. “We are developing Nagpur as a passenger, cargo & MRO hub. Air India and Boeing have already started MRO operations in Nagpur.”

The host of knowledge sessions at the Summit saw discussions on topics such as building drone ecosystem, aviation security and skills, challenges of high growth, green aviation, airports of future, etc. While the overall sentiment of the Summit was largely positive, some of the key takeaways were that India needs to revise its air service agreements, aircraft deliveries and order books require a robust vendor supply chain, aircraft capacity at key metros in India has reached a saturation point, growth and profitability need a fine balance, and low-cost business models need long-term sustainability.