Free Press Journal

Panel suggests strategic plan for growth of civil aviation sector


New Delhi: An official panel has recommended creation of a strategic plan to enable growth of the civil aviation sector and another master plan for development of airports across the country over a two-three decade timeframe.

The National Transport Development Policy Committee, set up under the Planning Commission, has also suggested steps to relax ownership and control rules governing airline sector, saying such a move was “expected to result in significant benefits in terms of financing costs especially at a time when the industry has launched itself in the path of higher trajectory of growth”.

The Committee, headed by former RBI Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan, also recommended setting up of an Airport Approvals Commission within the Civil Aviation Ministry to review and clear the airport development plans on an ongoing basis.

Given the projected growth in the aviation sector, a strategic plan was required to enable this growth, it said and suggested creation of a National Master Plan for airport development over a 20-30 year timeframe.

It said taxation of the sector as a whole was “disproportionately high which retards the industry’s development vis-a-vis the overall growth in the economy, and limits its potential economic contribution.

“To fully reap the economic benefits of air transportation, airlines must be treated as economic assets rather than as convenient source of taxation.”

Observing that the viability of airline industry was central to entire sector and crucial for sustaining growth, it said that despite the phenomenal growth in traffic, most Indian carriers were reeling under losses.