Rajya Sabha passes Airports Regulatory Authority Bill, 2008

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New Delhi, Oct 24 (UNI) The Rajya Sabha today passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERAI) Bill, 2008 to provide for the establishment of an Airport Economic Regulatory Authority that would regulate tariff and other charges for the aeronautical services besides monitoring the performance standards of airports.

The Bill also sought to establish Appellate Tribunal to adjudicate disputes and dispose of appeals and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Replying to the discussion, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said during the last government's regime national carrier faced the heat as they chose to kill the same by selling it. Nobody took pains of taking plans for Air India and Indian Airlines and the present government bought planes to run it properly.

He said there were charges of cartelisation between some airlines, but Air India cannot be a party to any cartelisation.

''Air India is fortifying the civil aviation sector with whatever infrastructure we have,'' he added.

Competition with other airlines has led to more choice and betterment of services for the passengers as more choice and competition has given balance to the sector. Aviation got high growth because of competition and everything is in a dynamic situation and ''we are open to any kind of ideas which improve the services''.

He said airports development is an ongoing process. The airports with 1.5 million passengers and above are being operated by the Airports Authority of India.

There is no bias in appointing the people as it is done on a merit basis. Airlines are closing and merging in other countries too. Petroleum and Aviation Ministries are trying for the accommodation, he added.

He said the setting up of regulatory authority is a step in the right direction. Even DGCA has enough regulatory powers.

This has become a sunrise sector in the last four years, he added.

The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill.


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