New Delhi, Nov 27: Both the Houses of Parliament have cleared the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2007 with the Rajya Sabha passing the Bill today that provides for making the aviation sector safe and secure for the passengers without hindering the current growth rate of 37 per cent in the sector. Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, who piloted the Bill, in his reply to the debate explained to the House in detail the latest changes that had occurred in the sector which otherwise was in the hands of various government agencies like Airports Authority of India, DGCA and Indian Airlines and Air India which control, manage and regulate the air traffic movement.
The Bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha also. He said the sector had seen 30 per cent plus growth in the last three years and it had witnssed high growth rate during the last decade with the entry of private sector into the arena. The Government, he said, was fully geared up to facilitate the growth in the air traffic catering to 81 cities in the country and its numbers would go up to 100 cities by 2008.
Touching upon the traffic congestion on the airports, he said Delhi airport would have its parallel runway by May-June of 2008 and the Maharashtra Government had been asked to provide infrastructural support for a second airport by 2011.
The modernisation of Kolkata and Chennai airports were taking place and the green field airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad would be functional during the next one year, Mr Patel said.
Defending the flying operations of public sector Indian Airlines, Mr Patel said if the merged entity was lacking it was because of the policies of the successive governments which tied its hands and asked them to compete with private sector owning younger fleets.
Newer aircrafts were now being added to the fleet, he informed. On the criticism of the delays caused due to heavy fog, he said CAT III system to help movement of aircraft during such conditions was in operation and about 900 pilots had undergone training and another 1000 of them will be trained. Presence of CAT III system will not mean smooth traffic if such a system was not deployed in the receiving airport also.
Giving a comparative aviation scenario in the world, the Minister said USA had 8000 aircrafts followed by 5000 in Europe and 1100 in China as against 400 aircrafts of India. The country will be adding another 1000 during the next eight to ten years and the Indian growth was noticed by the world.
All this required changes in the law and hence the amendment to the Aircraft legislation was brought keeping the future scenario in mind.
Referring to the media reports of air misses, bird hit delays, air congestion, he said every aircraft flying in India were fitted with T-CAS system where the computers would be alerting the pilots in advance about the presence of birds and its altitude to enable them to take precautionary measures.
The members who took part in the debate included Mr Mysora Reddy, TDP, Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena and Mr V Narayana Swamy, Congress.