Stakeholders in the general aviation sector will meet senior civil aviation ministry officials on Thursday to press for the requisite infrastructure for smaller aircraft to be able to implement the recently-notified policy for boosting regional air connectivity.
“We want the government to re-look the operations, maintenance and development agreements it enters with private-sector players to manage airport operations. Smaller aircraft are required to implement the government’s policy for regional connectivity. However, currently, there are no terminals or parking areas earmarked in airports for such aircraft,” said Rajesh Bali, secretary, Business Aircraft Operators’ Association.
The association’s members are also scheduled to meet the Director-General of Civil Aviation earlier in the day on Thursday to discuss safety guidelines notified by the regulator earlier this week.
On March 3, the government revamped the policy on regional air connectivity and notified new norms according to which scheduled carriers can enter into code-share agreements with non-scheduled companies operating on regional routes and purchase or sell miles (credits) among one another.
Earlier, a committee headed by Naresh Chandra, which was asked to review the route dispersal guidelines, had pointed out that scheduled operators with larger aircraft incurred losses on deploying services on regional and remote routes, as airlines had to subsidise fares to bring in traffic. The committee had further pointed out that services on shorter routes within these regions were unviable for large carriers due to competition from alternative modes of transport, such as roads and railways.
The new guidelines will enable large carriers to purchase miles from smaller regional air transport operators, who could deploy appropriate aircraft type and run more commercially-viable operations. Bali, however, pointed out that with adequate supporting infrastructure, it would be difficult for general aviation aircraft to sustain viable operations.