Govt's push for reforms in aviation: Easing of airspace restrictions, auction of 6 airports and more
In a move that is expected to bring about Rs 1000 crores per year for the aviation sector, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday announced that restrictions on utilisation of the Indian airspace will be eased so that civilian flying becomes more efficient.
Unveiling the fourth tranche of the Covid economic measures as part of the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India Mission'), Sitharaman said that only 60 per cent of Indian airspace is freely available because of which longer routes had to be used to fly through most destinations. Opening up more airspace would reduce travel time and save on fuel, besides making civilian flying more efficient, she added.
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The government also announced six more airports for auction under a (Public-Private Partnership) PPE model. Annual revenue from this in the first round could come up to Rs 1,000 crore per year with an additional downpayment of Rs 2,300 crore for the Airports Authority of India.
Additional investment by private players in 12 airports in the first and second rounds are expected to bring in around 13,000 crore, she said, while another six airports will be put out for the third round of bidding.
Also, an additional investment of Rs 13,000 crore will be made by private players in 12 airports auctioned in the first and second rounds.
Aircraft component repair and airframe maintenance are expected to increase from Rs 800 crore to Rs 2,000 crores in three years, she added.
Besides, the central government has started working to prepare for the resumption of commercial domestic flights, something that may happen in a staggered manner over the next one month. To this effect, government agencies have begun laying the groundwork in terms of safety and policy measures required to start flight operations.
Aside from aviation, Sitharaman's announcements also focused on coal, minerals, defence production, MRO, power distribution companies in UTs, space, and atomic energy. Among the major decisions include the opening up of coal sector for the commerical mining and hike in the FDI limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route.
(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)