Civil aviation traffic growth to be 20-22 pc: Official

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Bangalore, Jan 21 (UNI) The growth in civil aviation passenger traffic will continue to be big and it is expected to be in the range of 20 to 22 per cent during the 11th Five Year Plan, Joint Director General of Civil Aviation R P Sahi said here today.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by Varman Aviation here, he said the country had witnessed a spectacular 46 to 49 per cent growth in passenger traffic in the last year. Though such a high growth rate was difficult to sustain, the 'golden era' of the country's civil aviation would continue.

''Now 14 scheduled airliners operate in the country and orders for 300 wide bodied aircraft manufactured by Boeing and Airbus have been placed by various operators. Apart from this, 16 non-scheduled operators are in the fray. This shows the robust growth, the country is witnessing in the civil aviation,'' he said.

Mr Sahi said the country was witnessing major players in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) space entering the country to set up facilities and they had sought permission from the DGCA.

''German major Lufthansa has applied for setting up an MRO facility in Hyderabad, Boeing wants to tie up with Air India for MRO facility in Nagpur, while Pratt and Whitney wants to set up similar unit in Delhi.'' In view of the boom in MRO space, the DGCA would soon come up with a new regulatory framework called CR-145, which was on a par with the standards in the US and the EU.

''We are facilitating the players entering the country to set up MROs and we are working on the necessary regulatory framework. In view of most of the aviation engineering graduates not willing to work in the MRO industry, we have removed the bottleneck by allowing engineers from other streams to enter the MRO field,'' he said.

The official said India could emerge as a major destination in MRO space due to cost advantages. Now, only Air India had the facility to overhaul its engines and other players were sending the engines overseas.

The DGCA had decided to be part of international (BASA) Aviation Safety Agreement Bilateral to attain world standards in MRO in the Aviation sector. ''We have such bilateral agreements with Russia, Chile and Singapore now,'' he added.

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