Bill for new aviation regulator in this session

The government is likely to present a bill in the Budget session seeking to create a Civil Aviation Authority as the aviation regulator DGCA is not equipped to take up the growing challenges in the sector.

“There is an urgency to replace the DGCA with a more authoritative body to reinforce safety and security of millions of passengers and airlines,” Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said on Wednesday.
He said the DGCA needs to be replaced with a more powerful and autonomous body.

The CAA will have a separate fund. It will be self-reliant and will also be given financial and operational freedom. It will have a chairperson, director-general and seven to nine members.

Singh said while passenger and freight traffic and aircraft movements have grown manifold in the past six years, the strength of DGCA, which regulates all these activities, has gone up only in “a miniscule manner”.

He said the proposed CAA will be able to recruit its own staff, decide on their pay structure and the powers to fix and collect fees for rendering services like safety oversight and surveillance of air navigation services. The estimated cost of the Authority will be around Rs 112 crore.

To a query on Dreamliner, Singh said Air India will be compensated by Boeing for the battery trouble in the company’s latest planes, all of which have been grounded.

All the 50 Dreamliners delivered by Boeing to airlines across the world, including six of Air India, have been grounded following two incidents of fire and smoke in the lithium ion batteries.

Air India chairman Rohit Nandan also said that Boeing was hopeful of getting the Dreamliner back in service by early April. Air India has six Dreamliners and has ordered 21 more.

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