Chennai: The draft civil aviation policy, tabled by the Union civil aviation ministry recently, has come in for criticism from industry experts in the city.
The policy, released on November 10, touched on development of world-class airports, growing the cargo sector, institutional reforms and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities in the country.
Experts said that the draft policy had not set out priorities nor timeframes, and most importantly, not stressed on infrastructure development in airports, and all this at a time when the civil aviation sector registered a growth of over 16 per cent from 2004 to 2012.
“The proposals listed are unsubstantiated,” said B. Govindarajan, COO, Tirwin Management Services Private Ltd, an aviation consultant. Though creation of international standard airports figures prominently in the draft policy, Captain Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation security expert, pointed out that often, operational aspects, such as the runway and other navigational facilities were neglected.
There was a shortage of air traffic controllers, with the increase in traffic, and not enough qualified manpower in the DGCA to take care of the safety aspect, he said. These issues needed to be addressed immediately, rather than focusing only on creating modern terminals, Captain Ranganathan said.
As for the call to ramp up cargo handling capacity in Indian airports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in the recent past, been promoting the ‘Made in India’ campaign to boost manufacturing.
However J. Krishnan, chairman of the expert committee on logistics at the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) said that the draft aviation policy did not help in creating seamless and cost-effective air cargo services for exporting manufactured products.
“Cargo should be de-linked from mainstream airport operations. As it now stands, airport operators don’t have the required expertise to efficiently handle cargo movement,” he said.