Siddeshwara bats for uniform tax on aviation turbine fuel

Government keen on runways 2, 3 at KIA, says minister

The Union government has proposed to bring in uniform taxation for Aviation Turbine Fuel across all states. A fortnight ago, the government had sent a letter to state governments seeking co-operation for the same, said Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation G M Siddeswara.

Speaking to reporters here on Saturday on the sidelines of the 23rd anniversary and award function of the Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies And Industries (SIATI), the minister said the taxes at present vary in every state and this was proving to be exorbitant for the companies and posing hindrance to the growth of the aviation sector in the country. Though a uniform 4 per cent tax across all states was projected to be ideal, as of now, the Union government had not officially decided upon the amount, Siddeswara said.

This is but one among the several plans lined up for propelling aviation in the country. The government has listed 50 tier-II and tier-III cities for establishing no-frills airports, the minister said. As far as Karnataka was concerned, the government is keen on establishing airports in Shimoga, Gulbarga, Bellary, Bijapur and Hassan. In some places, it was yet to get land for the projects.

“The projects will move fast if the State government grants lands,” Siddeswara said. On the Mysore airport, he said that if the State government could find an alternative route for the Mysore-Nanjangud road, the airport could be developed on the land available on the existing route.

To increase air traffic, the government is keen on runways 2 and 3 at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore. The government will make use of unused portions of airport land to harness solar power, Siddeswara said.

‘Time for HAL airport’
Meanwhile, R K Tyagi, chairman, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, strongly advocated opening of the HAL airport.

“Bangalore should have two operating airports. Now that the Kempegowda International Airport is financially viable, it would be safe to open the HAL airport.” In response to the demand, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said they had already discussed the issue with the minister concerned at the Centre and were yet to receive a response.

Tyagi also called for a National Aeronautics Commission. “Today, aeronautical industry is divided among 5 ministries like Human Resources Development, Civil Aviation, Defence, Science and Technology, Labour and Employment. There has to be synergy in operations,” Tyagi said.

Foreseeing a demand for more than 4 lakh people with aeronautical degrees in the next 10 years, the chairman urged for the establishment of educational institutions to train students in the subject.

Poor Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) for aircrafts within the country forces companies to look abroad for repair works and maintenance. The MRO set-up too needs to be strengthened to establish a financially viable atmosphere for aviation in the country, Tyagi said.

On the occasion, a seminar was organised on ‘Innovation and R&D by private industries in aerospace and defence’. A book on ‘SIATI - over two decades of service to nation’ and a souvenir were also released.

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