Aviation policy in final stage: Ashok Gajapathi Raju

Hyderabad, Dec 28: The NDA government's new aviation policy is in the final stages and it will be referred to the Cabinet for approval, even as the draft policy received over three lakh views and suggestions, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said today.

"Aviation policy has reached the final stages...and I think we have to do one or two more sittings. We (in Government of India) have a procedure...we have to put a Cabinet note and then decisions will be arrived at. And once the decisions are arrived at, it will be a question of implementability," Raju said.

Ashok Gajapathi Raju

"Lot of discussions have taken place. For the first time suggestions on the draft policy had been called and three lakh odd people have given their suggestions including for and against...so, whatever it is all that has been sorted out and they are working on it," he said.

Raju was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the e-boarding facility to domestic fliers at the GMR group-run Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) here.

Replying to a query on the 5/20 rule, the minister said it would come up before Cabinet, which will take a final call. The 5/20 rule bars domestic airlines from flying overseas unless they have completed five years of domestic flying and have a fleet of 20 aircraft.

Many Indian carriers, including Air India, have been strongly opposing abolishing the rule. On the deportation of Indian students (mostly from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) headed for two California universities by the US, Raju said, "We request our students to do due diligence which is required and get into reputable institutions."

"It is a matter of concern. These institutions where children are going and not able to enter, they don't seem to have that type of reputation if you take all the institutions in US," the minister said. 

Meanwhile, RGIA today became the first airport in the country to offer e-boarding facility to domestic fliers. The seamless facility covers all the boarding processes right from entry into the terminal building of the airport to boarding the aircraft.

Fliers, however, would have flexibility to follow the traditional process of showing a photo-ID to gain entry into the airport in case the Aadhaar number is not available.

Developed in-house, the e-boarding solution eliminates the need for manual stamping of boarding cards even for physical boarding cards issued by CUSS (Common Use Self Service) machines or the check-in counters.

"The idea is that passengers should not feel inconvenienced," Raju said.

"Few months back on a pilot, Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports had come on board and now we are looking at airports throughout the country coming on board," he said.

Replying to another query, he said, "Technically, we have three modern airports in the country that can have parallel runways - Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi. For a country like India's size, two on the west coast and two more on the east coast are needed."


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