50 airports picked for low-cost development

On day two of Ficci’s India Aviation 2014 meet, Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Lavasa announced that the government has identified 50 airports for low-cost development and modernisation to increase regional connectivity.

At the inaugural session of the “Enhancing Air Connectivity” seminar, Lavasa said that the project would be a collaborative effort of the central government, state governments and airlines.

He said several state governments responded to the industry’s call to ease the burden of taxation on the aviation sector by drastically bringing down the VAT charges on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF). He also suggested that viability-gap funding be considered for the development of the low-cost airports.

A cabinet note has been circulated to create a separate body for air navigation as we need to separate it from the Airport Authority of India to give further impetus to the sector, he said, adding that a regional connectivity and route dispersal policy has been formulated.
Earlier, Ficci Secretary General A Didar Singh said, “As a large industrial economy, India must gain excellence in the MRO industry (Maintenance, Repair & Operations), as well as enter the realm of technology and manufacturing in this vast sector.”

US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) official Henry Steingass said, “This is where the US system is most evolved in handling the traffic. This is the challenge that India faces and keeping our commonality we can respond to the Indian need. Of course India is striving in its own way to meet the challenges in the area of safety threats.”

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