Civil Aviation Sector – CA Policy 2016, UDAN, Open Skies, etc.

Sep, 17, 2019

Regulations for flying of Drones  


  • Two US citizens were detained for flying a drone fitted with a camera above the high-security zone in Lutyens’s Delhi.
  • While this prohibition follows a specific security threat from terrorists, the general guidelines issued by the civil aviation regulator DGCA also lay down specific no-go areas for drones.

Types of drones

  • DGCA has identified multiple categories of drones, which can be broadly classified as ‘Nano’ (weighing up to 250 g), ‘Micro’ (more than 250 g but less than 2 kg) and ‘Small and above’ (weighing 2 kg or more).
  • Every drone that is bigger than a ‘Nano’ must obtain a unique identification number (UIN) from the aviation regulator (similar to the registration number for a car).
  • This number must be displayed on the remotely piloted aircraft. A UIN will be issued once, against a fee of Rs 1,000, and will not be issued to a foreign citizen or entity.
  • Users of bigger drones will be required to obtain a Unique Air Operator’s Permit (UAOP), similar to a driver’s licence.
  • The UIN and UAOP can be obtained from the online platform Digital Sky. The permits will be issued in less than a week.

Flying conditions

  • All drones other than those in the ‘Nano’ category must meet mandatory equipment requirements such as GPS, anti-collision light, ID plate, RFID and SIM facilities with software that ensures ‘no-permission, no-takeoff’, among other features.
  • Before flying a ‘Small’ or bigger drone, an operator has to file a flight plan, and inform the local police, so that the machine can reach a height of 400 ft or more, and use both controlled and uncontrolled airspace.
  • ‘Micro’ drones will be required to submit a flight plan only if using controlled airspace; the operator must, however, inform the local police in all cases.
  • Many drones used for amateur photography fall in this category. These aircraft will need a UIN but no UAOP, and will be allowed to climb only to a height of 200 ft.
  • ‘Nano’ drones will be able to operate freely, without any registration or permit, but their operations will be restricted to 50 ft above the ground, and to uncontrolled airspaces and enclosed premises.
  • All those requiring a UAOP must undertake a five-day training programme that will expose them to regulations, basic principles of flight, air traffic control procedures, weather and meteorology etc.
  • These operators will also have to take written tests and flight simulator tests before they are issued permits.

Only during day

  • All categories of drones must be flown in the visual line of sight, and only during daytime.
  • While all drone operations are restricted to daylight hours, photography using drones is allowed in well-lit enclosed premises.
  • But it would still be mandatory to inform the local police before flying.

No-fly zones

  • The regulator listed 12 categories of “no-drone zones”.
  • These include the area up to 5 km from the perimeters of the high-traffic airports of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
  • For other airports, the no-drone zone extends up to 3 km.
  • Drones cannot fly closer than 25 km of international borders, including the Line of Control and Line of Actual Control.
  • The area within a 5-km radius of New Delhi’s Vijay Chowk is a no-drone zone; this, however, is subject to any additional conditions/restrictions that local law enforcement agencies.
  • A drone can’t be flown within 2 km from the perimeter of strategic locations and vital installations notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs, unless cleared by the Ministry.
Aug, 27, 2019

[op-ed snap] Giving wings to better air connectivity


Very few States in India have active civil aviation departments. Currently, the penetration of the aviation market in India stands at 7%. There is potential to be among the global top three nations in terms of domestic and international passenger traffic.

The passive role of states

  1. Civil aviation is a Central subject and barely got significant attention from the States.
  2. States had a passive role as the Central government continued the development of airports and enhancing air connectivity. 

The increasing role of states

  1. The cooperation of States is seen as a major factor in the growth of the civil aviation sector. 
  2. Regional Connectivity Scheme, UdeDeshkaAamNaagrik (UDAN) has a built-in mechanism to develop stakes of State governments in the growth of the sector.
  3. Thirty states and Union Territories have already signed memoranda of understanding with the Central government. 
  4. The policies of States and Centre are now being interlinked to make flying accessible and affordable. 

Fuel pricing

  1. For any airline in India, the cost of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) forms about 40% of the total operational cost. 
  2. Keeping petroleum products out of GST may be imperative for State governments. 
  3. States have very high rates of VAT on ATF, as high as 25% which has dampened the growth trajectory of civil aviation. 
  4. Any notional revenue loss can be offset by enhanced economic activities as a result of increased air connectivity to the region. 
  5. An International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) study has shown that the output multiplier and employment multiplier of civil aviation are 3.25 and 6.10, respectively. 
  6. UDAN has motivated State governments to reduce the VAT on ATF to 1% for the flights operated under this scheme. 
  7. Airports such as Jharsuguda (Odisha) and Kolhapur (Maharashtra) have successfully attracted airlines to connect these hitherto unconnected regions. 

Airport development

  1. There are many regional airports which can be developed by States on their own or in collaboration with the Airports Authority of India (AAI). 
  2. Different models of public-private-partnership can be leveraged to develop infrastructures. 
  3. Innovative models can be explored to create viable ‘no-frill airports’
  4. India had about 70 airports since Independence until recently. Under UDAN, the Union government has operationalised 24 unserved airports over the past two years; 100 more are to be developed in the next five years.

Linking the hinterland

  1. States and the Central government can play a crucial role in supporting airlines to develop air services in remote regions
  2. To reduce the operational cost of airlines and airport operators, incentives from State governments such as financial support such as VAT reduction; sharing of viability gap funding with airlines, and non-financial incentives such as providing security and fire services free of cost to airport operators can be considered.
  3. Union government has declared concessions on excise duty on ATF and made budgetary allocations for airport development. This has encouraged airlines to operate on regional unconnected routes instead of trunk routes. 

Way ahead

To attract airlines from regional to remote connectivity, further interventions are necessary. 

  1. Considering the infrastructural constraints and difficult terrain, small aircraft operators need to be encouraged.
  2. Areas which cannot be connected meaningfully by road or rail have to be linked by air. 
  3. Air connectivity would not only bring down travel time but also be a boon in emergencies.
  4. This is also true for northeast India, the islands and also the hilly States.
  5. States may converge their relevant schemes relating to tourism, health, and insurance for supporting air connectivity to supplement the objectives of regional connectivity.

States need to create a conducive business environment to facilitate the aviation sector. Developing airports, incentivising airlines and pooling resources of both the Union and State governments can accelerate the growth of the sector.


The no-frill airports terminals will be without the expensive glass and steel, with fancy lounges, centralised air conditioning, aerobridges, conveyor belts as well as escalators and elevators for the passengers.

Jul, 17, 2019

Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA)


  • The Rajya Sabha has passed a Bill allowing the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) to bid out any new airport at a pre-determined tariff structure.
  • The AERA (Amendment) Bill was approved by the Cabinet in December 2017.

About AERA

  • AERA is a regulator that has the powers to set the tariffs charged at airports.
  • Sixteen airports will be under the jurisdiction of AERA.
  • All the other airports which would not be major airports will continue to be looked after by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Govt. of India.
  • Currently, all major airports with an annual capacity of handling 1.5 million passengers come under the purview of AERA.

Promises of the amendment

  • At present the passenger throughput at the airports under Airport Authority of India (AAI) is in the vicinity of 344.69 million.
  • So the limited purpose of this amendment is to substitute the figure 1.5 million which defined a major airport, which reflected 1.3 per cent of the passenger traffic at that point of time, by the figure 3.5 million.
  • This accurately reflects the state of traffic today and maintains proportionality.
  • If the amendment if effected, the definition of major airports will change to any aerodrome which has or is designated to have an annual passenger capacity of 3.5 million.

Why such bill?

  • The number of airports which are carrying high traffic has increased considerably and the government is hoping to ease the cumbersome process of fixing tariffs which the regulator had to undertake every five years.
  • With the advent of privatization and increasing number of airports being privatized, the Airports Authority shall not determine the tariff or tariff structures in the case such airports.
  • This is so because the tariff structure is part of the bid which is offered at the time of privatization.
Apr, 19, 2019

[op-ed snap] Hard landing: Jet Airways' temporary halt


Jet Airways announced a temporary halt of its operations from Wednesday night as funds to keep the airline going dried up.


  • To the long line of private airline carcasses dotting the bleak landscape of Indian aviation, one more may soon be added.
  • Jet Airways announced a temporary halt of its operations from Wednesday night as funds to keep the airline going dried up.
  • Despite intense lobbying by the bankrupt airline, banks stood firm on their decision to not release emergency funds to sustain operations until a white knight is found.
  • With operations halted and the half a dozen or so planes that were flying till Wednesday grounded, the airline is staring down the barrel, especially because most of its prized departure slots at major airports across the country have either already been or will soon be allocated to other airlines.

Future prospects

  • Jet will be able to regain these slots only if it bounces back before the end of the summer schedule in October.
  • Whether that will happen is now in the hands of prospective buyers, who are said to have evinced interest in buying the airline during the Expression of Interest (EOI) process called by banks last week.
  • The fact that the banks refused to extend emergency support is probably an indicator of the quantity and quality of the EOIs received by them.
  • It is hard to believe that they would not have temporarily supported Jet if the EOIs had been serious.
  • In sum, it does appear at this point that a miracle will be needed for Jet to take wing again.

Reasons for such instances

  • The collapse of Jet has caused turbulence in the market and also raised some serious questions over why the domestic airline industry is proving to be so perilous for enterprises.
  • There have been more than half-a-dozen private airline companies that have fallen by the wayside in the last decade and more, and it is well-known how Air India is propped up with government support.
  • Reckless competition – While it is true that fuel costs, which account for about half of the expenses of running an airline, have been difficult to manage, the fact is that reckless competition is responsible for the sorry plight of the industry.
  • Low Margins – Margins in the airline industry are wafer-thin in the best of times and the combined effect of rising fuel prices and the inability to pass them on to consumers due to competition has proved to be a deadly cocktail.
  • Similar instances – In the race to the bottom, it was Kingfisher seven years ago, Air Deccan and Air Sahara before that, it is Jet now, and who knows which airline could be next. It is notable that airfares have largely stayed stable over several years, benefiting passengers but biting airlines.

Way Forward

  • Stopping undercutting – It is time that airlines took stock of their collective plight and stopped undercutting each other on fares.
  • Centre’s support – The Centre can help too by reviewing fuel taxes and surcharges apart from airport levies, which the airlines complain are too high.
  • After all, a healthy airline industry can only be good for government revenues over the long term.



Mar, 22, 2019

International Air Transport Association (IATA)


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IATA

Mains level:  Potential of the aviation sector in India


  • SpiceJet has joined global airlines’ grouping International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a member, becoming the first Indian low-cost carrier to get the membership.

About IATA

  • The International Air Transport Association is a trade association of the world’s airlines.
  • IATA supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards.
  • It is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with Executive Offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Consisting of 290 airlines, primarily major carriers, representing 117 countries, the IATA’s member airlines account for carrying approximately 82% of total available air traffic.

Benefits of joining IATA

  • The IATA represents more than 290 airlines, including Air India, Jet Airways and Vistara.
  • SpiceJet is the first Indian low-cost carrier to be an IATA member, and fifth member in India.
  • The IATA membership is significant for rapidly expanding the airline’s international footprint.
  • The membership allows the airline to explore and grow its collaborations with international member airlines of IATA through interlining and code shares.
  • This in turn enables an airline to seamlessly expand the network options for its passengers in future.
  • The membership will further enable us to inculcate global best practices and innovations.
Jan, 17, 2019

Ministry of Civil Aviation releases Vision 2040 document


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Aviation related stats

Mains level: The potential of the aviation sector and dealing with various issues associated with it


  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation has unveiled the Vision 2040 document, which highlights the growth potential in different sub-sectors of Indian aviation and the key action steps are required to be taken to achieve the desired objective.

Highlights of Vision 2040

  1. As per the document the total passenger traffic (to, from and within India) in India is expected to rise nearly six-fold from 187 million in FY 2018 to around 1124 million in FY 2040.
  2. This includes around 821 million domestic passengers and around 303 million international passengers (to and from India).
  3. The overall CAGR (compound annual growth rate) works out to around 9% in domestic and 7% in international traffic during FY 2018-2040.

Why such long-term plan?

  1. Rather than having five-year plans, the document talks about India having a robust 20-year plan that lays out the targets and the path to get there along with time lines and clear accountability.
  2. Since aviation is a longterm plan, aircraft procurement, airport development, air navigation system changes and skill development should be done in a cohesive manner.
  3. It said technology developments like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, composites, super-alloys, biofuels etc. are changing the face of aviation.
  4. It is humanly impossible to predict the oil price or the exchange rate a month down the line, much less the impact of technology 10 years hence.

A high growth path

  1. Total passenger traffic to, from and within India, during Apr-Nov 2018 grew by around 15% year on year as compared to around 6% globally.
  2. India is now the seventh largest aviation market with 187 million passengers (to, from and within India)inFY2017-18.
  3. It is expected to be third largest by 2022.

Various Initiatives

  1. As per the document initiatives like Nabh Nirman (for airport capacity augmentation), Digi Yatra (for paperless travel) and AirSewa (for online passenger grievance redressal) are bringing in radical changes.

Policy Suggestions

  1. It said that the government may consider establishing a Nabh Nirman Fund (NNF) with a starting corpus of around $2 billion to support low traffic airports in their initial phases.
  2. The tax structure for Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and aircraft leasing may be gradually aligned with leading global jurisdictions.
  3. The concept of land pooling may be used to keep land acquisition costs low and to provide landowners with high value developed plots in the vicinity of the airport.
  4. It also said DGCA may be converted into a fully-independent Civil Aviation Authority, with its own sources of funding and freedom to recruit professionals at market-linked salaries.
  5. Most transactions with DGCA will be automated with minimal human interface.
Dec, 26, 2018

[op-ed snap] Policy tweaks for investment in airports and roads


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Crisil InfraInvex

Mains level: The potential of the aviation sector and dealing with various issues associated with it


Booming aviation sector of India

  1. India has become the third-largest aviation market in the world
  2. For both Indian developers and international investors, this presents a huge opportunity
  3. Privatization of metro airports undertaken earlier had yielded good returns for developers
  4. A significant recent announcement was the Cabinet approval for privatization of six airports. It comes at a good time—when investment in the sector is improving
  5. The Crisil InfraInvex—an index that tracks the development and investment attractiveness of the infrastructure sector—score for the aviation sector has already risen to 6.5 in October 2018 from 6.1 a year ago (on a scale of 10, where 1 indicates least attractiveness)

Sector expanding its wings

  1. Domestic airlines will together boast of one of the largest fleets anywhere in the short to medium term
  2. As of August 2018, they have ordered 1,055 aircraft, with orders for another 100 wide-body aircraft expected over the next 12 months
  3. Airlines need to pump in close to ₹3.5 trillion for fleet expansion by 2027
  4. The fleet expansion also opens up a huge potential to develop India as a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub
  5. The $776 million MRO business in India is estimated to grow to more than $1.5 billion by 2020
  6. The overall investment potential for Indian aviation (airlines and airports put together) is estimated at a whopping $100 billion over the next 12-15 years

Handling privatisation 

  1. The government should make sure that all the land required for development is made available at the bidding stage itself
  2. It should provide an easier exit option on achieving the commercial operations date
  3. It should have more clarity on the bidding parameter—whether to follow a revenue sharing model, as in cases of brownfield airports or as suggested by the consultative paper, to cap the yield and make concession fee as the bidding parameter
  4. The risk should be apportioned equitably among partners
  5. A robust industry-focused tribunal should be put in place for expeditious resolution of issues

Roads sector

  1. The roads sector has seen significant policy changes in the past couple of years and the average construction done per day has quadrupled
  2. New public-private partnership (PPP) models, such as the hybrid annuity model (HAM), and asset monetisation programmes, such as toll-operate-transfer (TOT), have been set in motion and have achieved initial success
  3. The Crisil InfraInvex score for roads has risen to 7.4 (in October 2018) from 6.9, primarily because of the successful launch of the TOT programme, which brought a new class of investors into the sector
  4. Also, bringing out the next five-year-plan as envisaged in the rollout of the Bharatmala programme
  5. Increased award and construction have also helped boost the investment attractiveness of the sector

Addressing issues of road sector

  1. As in the case of airports, here too the government should be ready with all the land required for construction. In other words, it should make available shovel-ready projects for the bidders. This is important given the problems faced while acquiring land for industrial use
  2. About 50% of all projects awarded in fiscal 2018 are under HAM. Given the challenges in terms of budgetary resources, the time is ripe for getting built-operate-transfer (BOT) back in the fray. At present, the share of BOT projects is not even 10% compared with the government’s decision to execute future projects through HAM, engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) and BOT in a ratio of 60:30:10
  3. Address the banking sector’s concerns over funding of HAM projects
  4. Encourage more developers to come up with infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs), which are an excellent exit strategy tool

Way forward

  1. Both airports and roads are at an inflection point and have generated the interest of a varied category of stakeholders
  2. A continued policy push and a clear road map of development will increase stickiness among the investing community
Dec, 03, 2018

[pib] Digital Sky Platform launched for registration of drones, pilots, and operators


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Drone regulations 1.0 and 2.0, Digital Sky Platform

Mains level: Potential and threats posed by drone technology



  1. Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), popularly referred to as drones, are a technology platform with wide-ranging applications.
  2. In August 2018, India had announced the release of its Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) to enable safe flying of drones in India.
  3. The CAR detailed the obligations of operators, remote pilots/ users and manufacturers/ OEM for safe operations of RPAS and co-operative use of airspace.

Digital Sky Platform

  1. The Digital Sky Platform is a first of its kind that implements ‘no permission, no take-off’ (NPNT) – a novel system of software-based self-enforcement to minimize deviations from the CAR.
  2. The regulations has to come in effect from December 1, allowing the industry time to ready themselves for the launch.
  3. For micro and above categories, operators and pilots are required to register on the Digital Sky Portal.
  4. The platform has begun accepting registrations of users.
  5. Payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh ( portal.

How to get permissions?

  1. To get permissions to fly, RPAS operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan.
  2. Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app.
  3. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’.
  4. The location of these zones will be announced soon. Permission, if granted, will be available digitally on the portal.
  5. If a drone does not have permission to fly, it will not be allowed to take-off under the policy of No Permission-No-Takeoff (NPNT).

Drone 2.0 Framework

  1. The Minister for Civil Aviation has constituted a task-force on the recommendation of Drone Policy 2.0 under the chairmanship of the Minister of State.
  2. This task-force which is expected to release their final report by the end of this year.
  3. Drone 2.0 framework for RPAS are expected to include regulatory architecture for autonomous flying, delivery via drones and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights.


Highlights of Drone 1.0 Framework

  1. As per the CAR ruled out by DGCA , there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely:
  • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 gm
  • Micro: Greater than 250 gm but less than 2 kg
  • Mini: Greater than 2 kg but less than 25 kg
  • Small: Greater than 25 kg but less than 150 kg
  • Large: Greater than 150 kg
  1. The mandatory equipment required for operation of RPAS except nano category are (a) GNSS (GPS), (b) Return-To-Home (RTH), (c) Anti-collision light, (d) ID-Plate, (e) Flight controller with flight data logging capability, and (f) RF ID and SIM/ No-Permission No Take off (NPNT).
  2. The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime only and that too within “Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) for all categories.

Restricted Zones for drones

  1. RPAs cannot be flown within 5km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and within 3km from the perimeter of any other airport.
  2. It cannot fly within “permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas” and within 25km from international border which includes the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
  3. It cannot fly beyond 500 m into sea from the coast line and within 3 km from perimeter of military installations.
  4. It also cannot fly within a 5 km radius of the Vijay Chowk in Delhi, within 2 km from perimeter of strategic locations/ vital installations notified by Ministry of Home Affairs and within 3 km from radius of State Secretariat Complexes.
  5. It also cannot be operated from a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft.
  6. Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are off-limits without prior permission.
  7. Violations will be acted on under relevant sections of the IPC and the Aircraft Act 1934.
Nov, 06, 2018

Centre eyes seaplanes in UDAN 3

Related image


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UDAN scheme

Mains level: Need and importance of better air connectivity in India


UDAN Phase 3

  1. Opening the third round of the regional connectivity scheme (RCS), the Ministry of Civil Aviation has invited proposals for air routes that include tourist destinations
  2. Seaplanes may soon be operating commercial passenger flights in India with the Centre inviting bids for connecting selected destinations under the RCS
  3. Few destinations that the government proposes to connect through seaplanes are the recently unveiled Statue of Unity at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand and Nagarjuna Sagar in Telangana

Offerings in phase 3

  1. In the latest phase, the Centre is reoffering 34 airports that weren’t successfully connected
  2. Some destinations have been put on the block again as helicopter operations failed to take off
  3. The Centre has also offered 23 tourist destinations including Bodh Gaya, Agra, Kanha, Varanasi, Hampi, Mysore and Kullu
  4. The previous two rounds saw a total of 428 routes awarded to 17 airlines and helicopter operators
Oct, 03, 2018

[op-ed snap] A flight path with obstacles


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: India’s new drone policy and how it will have an adverse impact on industry


New drone policy

  1. While the rest of the world has been soaring ahead in making the futuristic promise of unmanned flying vehicles a more immediate reality, India has largely been dragging its feet
  2. Up until the end of August, flying a drone was mostly illegal here
  3. With the publication of the drone regulations in late August, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has attempted to give some structure to the development of drone infrastructure in India

Long list of regulations

  1. Flying a drone is a task wrapped tightly in immense paperwork
  2. India’s regulations separate drones into five categories — nano, micro, small, medium and large
  3. The paranoia kicks in from the micro category, starting with the application for a unique identification number (UIN) for each drone, with a long list of documentation including security clearances from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in several cases
  4. Once the UIN is obtained, operators get to move to the next step — of having to apply for an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP), implying more forms, more annexures and more submissions
  5. Even to fly a micro drone below 200 ft, users have to intimate the local police station 24 hours prior

Impact on industry

  1. Manufacturers of drones as well as technologists and researchers making applications using drones have to test fly these frequently, often several times a day
  2. With so many government authorities involved in allowing permission and keeping an eye, it is inevitable that operators could be slapped easily with real and perceived violations
  3. The structure of these regulations makes the possibility of a red tape-free flight very slim

Prospects of drones

  1. The real impact of drones will be in the many applications they will be put to
  2. They are likely to be the disaster prevention systems, rescue operation leaders, and even public transport providers in the not too distant future
  3. Missing out on working on these applications early enough will likely have serious repercussions to India’s future competitiveness in the field

Way Forward

  1. China’s drone economy — manufacturing and development — will be worth $9 billion in 2020, while the U.S’s commercial drone market is expected to be $2.05 billion by 2023 (Global Market Insights)
  2. For India to compete against these giants, it already has a lot of catching up to do
  3. Filing a series of applications in multiple copies and waiting for various government departments to respond is not the best way to get started
Aug, 28, 2018

[pib] Government announces Regulations for Drones


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Drone regulations, Digital Sky Platform

Mains level: Potential of and threats posed by drone technology


Drones registration rules

  1. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for civil use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) commonly known as drones
  2. Drone Regulations 1.0 will enable the safe, commercial usage of drones starting December 1, 2018
  3. These are intended to enable visual line-of-sight daytime-only and a maximum of 400 ft altitude operations
  4. Airspace has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission)

Digital Sky Platform

  1. The Digital Sky Platform is the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements “no permission, no takeoff” (NPNT)
  2. The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defence and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths
  3. Users will be required to do a one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners
  4. For every flight (exempted for the nano category), users will be required to ask for permission to fly on a mobile app and an automated process permits or denies the request instantly
  5. To prevent unauthorized flights and to ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit to fly will simply not be able to take off

Key features of Drone Regulations 1.0

  1. As per the regulation, there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large
  2. All RPAS except nano and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies are to be registered and issued with Unique Identification Number (UIN)
  3. Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) shall be required for RPA operators except for nano RPAS operating below 50 ft., micro RPAS operating below 200 ft., and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies
  4. The regulation defines “No Drone Zones” around airports; near the international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations/vital and military installations; etc
Jul, 30, 2018

Govt to roll out DigiYatra offering for air passengers soon


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: DigiYatra initiative

Mains level: Government interventions in the civil aviation sector in recent years and its impact on overall transportation sector


DigiYatra initiative

  1. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is close to rolling out DigiYatra service at airports in a few months
  2. Under this initiative, the moment you will enter the airport, your images will be captured and then you will be able to go through the full lifecycle of your travel in a seamless manner

About DigiYatra

  1. DigiYatra is an industry-led initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in line with Digital India programme
  2. It aims to transform the flying experience for passengers and position Indian Aviation amongst the most innovative aviation networks in the world
  3. The facility will use digital technology to enhance air passenger experience all the way from ticket booking to airport entry check, security check and aircraft boarding
  4. For this, a passenger needs to enrol into DigiYatra program through AirSewa app and a DigiYatra verified passenger will get hassle free entry at the airport through E-Gates
  5. At the entry gate, a single token for the passenger will be created
  6. This will also facilitate walk-through security scanners swiftly owing to advanced biometric security solutions

Optional facility

  1. This facility will be optional for passengers
  2. If somebody does not want to disclose the identity, there will be a separate provision for them
  3. It is not just Aadhaar based but is beyond Aadhaar
  4. The ID verification will be done by the BCAS-approved Government ID
Jul, 18, 2018

Counter-drone strategy for airports ready

A “soft kill” approach instead of a hard kill approach has been suggested.


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Statutory, regulatory & various quasi-judicial bodies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security)

Mains level: New technologies such as Drones and emerging security threats from them


Guidelines for drones

  1. The government is set to unveil a framework to regulate unmanned aircraft systems in the country
  2. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had released draft rules for unmanned aircraft systems in November last year and proposed to ban their operation within 5 km radius of an airport and 50 km from an international border

BCAS to ensure implementation near airports

  1. Aviation security watchdog BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security) has finalised a strategy to neutralise drones near airports
  2. The strategy deals with drones operating near aerodromes as the body is mandated to ensure aviation security
  3. The Ministry of Home Affairs may prepare a separate plan to deal with drone attacks in sensitive zones such as Parliament

Softkill approach to be used

  1. A “soft kill” approach instead of a hard kill approach has been suggested because destroying a drone with a payload of explosives or biochemical will result in an attack and serve the purpose of their handlers
  2. The best approach is to entrap the drones and not destroy them


BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security)

  1. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India
  2. BCAS is the regulatory authority for civil aviation security in India. It is headed by an officer of the rank of Director General  of Police  and is designated  as Commissioner of   Security (Civil Aviation)
  3. Commissioner of security (CA) is the appropriate authority for implementation of Annexure 17 to Chicago convention of International civil aviation organization (ICAO)
  4. Commissioner of security (CA) is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme
  5. The main responsibility of BCAS are laying down standards and measures in  respect of security of  civil flights  at International  and  domestic  airports in India
Oct, 14, 2017

Airports need up to $45 bn investment by 2030: CAPA



Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: These topics of infrastructure development are specially mentioned in the Mains Syllabus.


Observation by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) 

  1. According to the CAPA, India needs up to $45 billion investment in 55 airports to boost capacity by 2030
  2. As most Indian airports head towards saturation in passenger-handling capacity
  3. India will need to construct an additional 500 to 600 million of capacity by 2030

Issues with the Indian Infrastructure Companies

  1. Almost all Indian infrastructure companies significantly over-leveraged
  2. And they would be constrained to raise the necessary capital for airport development
  3. Combined with the economic regulatory environment, availability of capital could be a very significant, structural problem

Parking issue faced by Indian Airports

  1. According to the CAPA, Indian airlines would induct close to 350 to 400 aircraft over the next five years
  2. And that they had already been facing challenges securing overnight parking bays
Aug, 25, 2017

Govt tweaks RCS to attract more bidders

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: RCS

Mains level: India’s aviation is not in a good condition. Also, there is a very less connectivity of Aviation Sector in major part of the country. This step will help to counter some issues related to these problems.


Step to make the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) more viable for airlines

  1. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has decided to make some significant changes for the second round of bidding, for commercially viable existing routes under the scheme
  2. MoCA has also  increased the viability gap funding (VGF) for helicopter operators under the scheme

Efforts to increase connectivity in the “priority areas”

  1. Priority Areas include: J&K, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, the North-East, and Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep Island
  2. Some of the airports in the ‘priority area’ states need major rebuilding work
  3. Therefore, the ministry has decided to encourage more helicopter operators to participate in the upcoming bidding process

Condition for Bidding

  1. In the second round of the bidding, airlines would be able to bid for commercially viable existing routes under the scheme
  2. If a no-objection certificate (NOC) can be obtained from the existing operator


Regional Connectivity Scheme

Click here

Nov, 22, 2016

Civil Aviation Secretary interview on National Civil Aviation Policy

  1. Who: Civil aviation secretary R. N. Choubey
  2. Context: India announcing its National Civil Aviation Policy
  3. Views: The main focus has been to enable the ordinary Indian to fly
  4. The govt. is now proposing open skies with countries beyond 5,000 km which means many more flights to those countries and much more competition
  5. The regional connectivity scheme is for 10 years and it will become operational from second quarter of the current financial year
  6. Once it becomes operational, there are airstrips which are ready and flying can happen immediately
Nov, 07, 2016

Your flight plan may soon be under govt. watch

  1. What: India is sprucing up its aviation security apparatus with a profiling upgrade
  2. How: Potential troublemakers will come under the scanner of aviation security authorities the moment their tickets are booked.
  3. The Centre will track air travel data and may look for unusual ticket purchases in a bid to keep a check on terror
  4. Additionally, the passenger pre-screening system, which will be adopted soon, will run a criminal check and see whether a passenger’s name is in the terror blacklist
  5. Why: The move is seen as part of India’s efforts at tightening security at airports after many attacks this year at airports across the world
  6. Examples: Turkey’s Ataturk International Airport and the Brussels airport were bombed by suspected Islamic State militants
Sep, 27, 2016

The looming crisis in airport capacity

  1. The robust growth in air traffic has led to capacity constraints and increasing congestions at the Indian airports
  2. A capacity shortage is looming large, in terms of runway slots, parking bays or terminals, in the years to come
  3. As India is set to become the third-largest aviation market in the world in the next five to seven years, according to consultancy firm CAPA
  4. Thus, it needs to come up with a firm plan to build 50 new airports at an investment of Rs.2.72 lakh crore to handle the growing air traffic
  5. It has to start planning now as the airport capacity constraint cannot be resolved overnight as it involves land acquisition, approvals and clearances, design, construction and urban planning, among others
Sep, 08, 2016

Open sky policy of India- a background

  1. At present, India has an open sky agreement with the US
  2. Also, a near open sky agreement with the U.K. under which there are certain limitations on the number of flights that can be operated at the Mumbai and Delhi Airports
  3. For ASEAN or SAARC countries, India has an open sky agreement with more than a dozen countries
  4. We have written a note verbale to all the 109 countries with which India has a bilateral agreement conveying to them about our open sky policy under the new civil aviation policy
  5. India will soon hold talks with Dubai to increase the bilateral seat entitlements with them
Sep, 08, 2016

India to allow unlimited flights to and from Greece

  1. India has signed an MoU and initiated air service agreement with Greece to allow unlimited number of flights into each other’s countries
  2. Greece will become the first country with an open sky arrangement under our new civil aviation policy
  3. Under the new civil aviation policy, India plans to enter into ‘open sky’ air service agreements (ASA) with SAARC countries and with countries beyond 5,000 km radius from Delhi
  4. Countries sign ASAs through bilateral negotiations to decide on the number of flights that airlines can fly into each other’s countries
  5. Under the open sky pact, there is no restriction on flights or seats
Aug, 16, 2016

Flying getting riskier as safety violations rise in India

  1. News: Air safety incidents that prompted regulatory action reached 280 this year, beating the 275 all of last year & may increase to 400 next year- Directorate General of Civil Aviation data
  2. DGCA is cracking down on safety violations by airlines in recent months, including a slew of offences such as aircraft getting too close to each other, overworked staff and inebriated pilots and crew
  3. In the latest incident, the DGCA ordered Jet Airways India Ltd. and state-owned Air India Ltd. to file police complaints against pilots who were found drunk, seeking legal action for the first time ever in such cases
Aug, 16, 2016

Plane leasing firms may get a boost

  1. News: The Centre plans to ease norms for aircraft leasing firms to enable them to take back aircraft quickly from defaulting airlines
  2. Aim: To make its regional connectivity scheme more attractive for such lessors
  3. Background: When Kingfisher Airlines had ceased operations in 2012, the lessors faced legal hurdles in re-possessing the aircraft
  4. Why? The DGCA was not deregistering the aircraft which was an essential requirement for taking back the planes
Jul, 08, 2016

Airlines v/s DGCA

  1. News: India’s leading airlines termed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)’s rule to reduce fee for carrying 5kg baggage on flights as illegal
  2. Context: A recent DGCA directive allowed passengers to carry 5kg extra baggage over the free allowance of 15kg, by paying Rs 100 a kg to the airline, 2-3 times less than the earlier practice
  3. The airlines have also opposed most of the other proposed passenger-centric norms
  4. Norms: Enhanced compensation for denying boarding and flight delays and demanded a higher cap on ticket cancellation fee
  5. The airlines also threatened to increase the airfares as the move may impact their operating viability due to consumption of more fuel by carrying excess baggage
Jul, 02, 2016

Draft regional connectivity scheme - II

  1. Routes: Routes in the air distance of 200-800 kms will qualify
  2. Concessions: Scheme would be applicable only if states reduce VAT to 1% for 10 years and if they provide free land, security and fire services
  3. Subsidy: Viability gap funding per seat depending on the distance travelled, to the airlines, for 3 years to fund the losses they incur by charging less
  4. 80% to be funded by the Centre and 20% by the States
  5. Cess: Centre would set up a regional connectivity fund and would levy a cess on airlines flying on metro routes
Jul, 02, 2016

Draft regional connectivity scheme - I

  1. Aim: To make flying affordable and to revive dormant airports
  2. Impact: Passengers would be able to fly an hour’s flight for Rs 2,500
  3. Provisions: Cap on airfares would be applicable on a limited number of seats
  4. Passengers would be eligible for subsidised fares on a first-come-first served basis
  5. Airports: Either unserved or underserved (less than 7 flights a week) airports qualify for the scheme
Jul, 01, 2016

Centre would subsidise only some seats on regional routes

  1. News: The government’s subsidy to airlines, capping the fare for hour-long flights operating from regional airports, to Rs 2,500, would be limited to some seats
  2. Context: A regional connectivity scheme was announced under the Civil Aviation Policy, which proposed a levy per passenger
  3. Funding: The regional connectivity fund will be financed by charging Rs 8,000 per departure to airlines on all domestic routes, except remote and north-eastern States
  4. Besides the above levy, there would also be exemption to airlines from a host of charges, sharply lower services tax on tickets and reduced VAT on aviation turbine fuel
  5. While the Centre will provide 80% of the subsidy by setting up a regional connectivity fund, the rest 20% will flow from the states
Jun, 28, 2016

DGCA to ease norms for smaller aircraft

  1. News: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is expected to come out with less rigorous rules and compliance standards for smaller aircraft
  2. Separate rules for 80-seater and 19-seater aircraft, with rules for the latter not as rigorous as the former
  3. Existing regulations might be stringent for players willing to operate smaller aircraft
  4. Importance: Small aircraft important to the ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme that proposes to cap airfares and to connect under-served regions
  5. Small aircraft are expected to be critical to the next phase of Indian aviation’s growth story, that will come from India’s tier-II and III cities
Jun, 27, 2016

Airlines can now import older planes

  1. News: Domestic airlines can now import aircraft that are up to 18 years old into India
  2. Pressurised aircraft that are not over 18 years old or those which have not completed 50% of design economic pressurisation cycle can be imported
  3. Pressurised aircraft is one which is equipped to handle cabin pressure at an altitude of above 10,000 feet
  4. Cases to case examination to be done for unpressurised aircraft
  5. Rules were changed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)
  6. Till now, aircraft that are more than 15 years old were not allowed to be imported
  7. Impact: Expected to provide a boost for the government’s ambitious efforts to boost regional air connectivity
Jun, 24, 2016

Inactive airports might be converted to SEZs

  1. News: Centre is planning to convert unused airports in India into Special Economic Zones (SEZ)
  2. Aim: For aircraft leasing companies to park their aircraft and showcase them to potential customers
  3. Leasing companies could park 50-100 aircrafts in an airport, post which airline companies can take test flights and place orders
  4. Dismantling an aircraft at dormant airports is also being looked at – a move that could attract the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) sector
Jun, 22, 2016

Majority foreign stake puts curbs on overseas flights

  1. The bilateral air traffic agreements that India has signed with most of the countries have ‘substantial ownership and effective control’ (SOEC) clause
  2. It may not permit the airlines with majority foreign ownership to fly abroad from India
  3. At present, India has bilateral air service agreements with 109 countries
  4. The SOEC clause is applicable at two places – at the stage of air operators’ permit and for bilateral rights to fly abroad
  5. Recently, Govt liberalised norms in the sector, allowing foreign investors to own up to 100% stake in domestic carriers
Jun, 16, 2016

New Civil Aviation Policy- Regional connectivity scheme

  1. Regional connectivity: Passengers will be charged Rs. 2,500 for an hour’s flight on regional routes by the airlines
  2. The government will provide financial support to fund airlines’ losses on such un-served routes
  3. Funds? This will be done through a small levy per departure on all domestic routes except in remote and north-eastern States
  4. Local airports: Govt also has grand plans to revive 50 airports in the next two years through this scheme
  5. Issue: It is yet to ascertain how it will mop up funds for providing the viability gap funding
Jun, 16, 2016

New Civil Aviation Policy- Open Skies

  1. Open-sky policy: For countries beyond the 5,000-km radius from Delhi on a reciprocal basis
  2. Implication: Airlines from European or SAARC countries will have unlimited access, in terms of number of flights and seats, to Indian airports
  3. Impact: Increased flight frequencies with these countries
  4. Earlier: While India has full open-sky with U.S., it has a near open-sky agreement with the U.K. with a restriction on the frequency of flights to and from Mumbai and Delhi
Jun, 16, 2016

New Civil Aviation Policy- No more 5/20

  1. Context: India’s first National Civil Aviation Policy has been cleared by Govt
  2. Motto: Connecting the unconnected and serving the un-served
  3. Objectives: Increasing air connectivity, allowing new domestic airlines to fly abroad quickly and opening up the skies for European and SAARC countries
  4. No more 5/20: Start-up airlines can now fly abroad after operating at least 20 planes or 20 per cent of their total flying capacity, whichever is higher, on domestic routes
  5. 5/20 rule: A domestic airline is allowed to go international only after flying for five years to domestic destinations and operating at least 20 aircraft
  6. A Fact: India has 9th largest civil aviation market in the world, with a size of around $16 billion
Feb, 22, 2016

Challenges faced by Indian airlines

  1. Context: Civil Aviation sector is showing signs of good growth, but heavy taxation is dealing a blow
  2. Reason: Airlines in India have a huge amount of accumulated book losses in the whole sector
  3. The withdrawal of exemption on lease rentals for aircraft and aircraft engines has shifted such transactions outside India
  4. MROs are expensive due to high taxes, when compared to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Dubai, China etc
  5. The cost of Aviation Turbine Fuel in India is amongst the highest in the world
  6. Statistics: India is the fastest growing aviation market in the world, with 20% annual growth in air passengers
Feb, 20, 2016

Cheap jet fuel masks rising airline inefficiency

  1. Context: According to CAPA India, airlines’ cost of flying, which has come down, is fuelled solely by cheap fuel
  2. CASK: Indian airlines’ cost per available seat kilometre (CASK), a key metric of operating efficiency, shows cheap fuel has actually masked rising costs at the country’s airlines
  3. Fuel cost scene in India: fuel costs account for about 45-55% of the revenue of domestic airlines, and a 4% drop in fuel cost adds around 2% to the operating margin of airlines
  4. Secret of profit: almost all airlines made money as they benefited from cheaper fuel and there was no secret sauce for Indian airlines other than lower jet fuel cost
  5. Future danger: any reversal in the slump of oil prices can be mortifying
Feb, 04, 2016

With petrol costlier than aviation fuel, it’s now cheaper to fly than ride a bike

There are also fiscal reasons behind the government’s persistent hikes in excise duty on petrol and diesel.

  1. Higher state taxes coupled with greater incidence of central excise duties has resulted in petrol becoming more expensive per litre than aviation turbine fuel (ATF).
  2. All fuels are subject to several taxes, resulting in their final market price being significantly higher than the price dealers pay for the fuel.
  3. One major reason for the mismatch between the prices of ATF, a highly refined fuel and petrol is the higher burden of central excise duties on the latter.
  4. Another reason for ATF enjoying lower excise duties than petrol or diesel is that aviation fuel can be freely imported.
  5. Hence, if the Indian government hikes the excise duty on ATF, airlines can simply import it from cheaper sources.
  6. Consumers of diesel or petrol don’t have any such option.
Jan, 27, 2016

India to install hotlines at 13 airports to deal with hijackings

The move is among several being adopted in the wake of heightened security concerns and include new guidelines for passengers and visitors.

  1. India’s aviation ministry will install hotlines in 13 important airports to plug any communication gaps in the event a plane is hijacked.
  2. India has witnessed around 6 hijackings since independence.
  3. Experts cite communication gaps as the main reason why nothing was done when the plane stopped to refuel in Amritsar.
  4. The airports are: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Trivandrum, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow and Guwahati.
  5. The plan is that the hijacked plane will be diverted to the closest airport quickly.
  6. Instant communication on ground situation and potential demands of hijackers be relayed immediately to the control rooms.
Jan, 26, 2016

Centre calls for bridging skill gap in civil aviation sector

  1. Civil Aviation Minister raised concerns over the tremendous mismatch between the skills required and the availability of suitable manpower for the civil aviation sector.
  2. He added that stakeholders should come together to work out ways for skill development.
  3. The employment opportunities are available in all segments of the civil aviation sector including Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) and cargo, both within and outside the country.
  4. There should be a robust fund mechanism for training, creating infrastructure and improving training process.
Jan, 26, 2016

Centre calls for bridging skill gap in civil aviation sector

Building a robust fund mechanism for training, creating infrastructure and improving training process.

  1. Civil Aviation Minister raised concerns over the tremendous mismatch between the skills required for the civil aviation sector and the availability of suitable manpower.
  2. Stakeholders should come together to work out ways for skill development, taking into consideration the requirements and employment opportunities available in all segments of the civil aviation sector.
  3. This includes Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) and cargo, both within and outside the country.
  4. ICRA Management Consultancy Services Ltd. (IMaCS) has recommended setting up a National Civil Aviation Training Authority and Cargo and Ground Handling Sector Skill Council.
Jan, 18, 2016

Air India changes stand on 5/20 rule to allow private airlines to fly abroad

  1. In a major shift in its stance, Air India has dropped its resistance to abolish 5/20 rule for Indian carriers to be able to fly abroad.
  2. The draft civil aviation policy has been delayed mainly due to the government’s unclear stand over the ‘5/20 rule.
  3. The govt is evaluating 3 options — keeping the rule, completely doing away with it or replacing it with a credit-based system.
  4. The shift in stand by AI will give more room to the govt to abolish the rule thereby helping Vistara and AirAsia India to fly abroad.
Jan, 07, 2016

Cabinet approves MoU with Singapore to manage airports

The Union Cabinet approved the signing of a MoU with Singapore for operating and maintaining the terminal building of airports at Jaipur and Ahmedabad.

  1. This is the first time the Airports Authority of India will award operation and maintenance contract to any entity for terminal building.
  2. The objective  is to establish mutual cooperation in the field of civil aviation.
  3. This cooperation will be extended to other airports with mutual consent.
  4. It envisages collaboration with Singapore in areas such as traffic development, commercial development, master planning and design, training and development, cargo handling and management among others.
Dec, 23, 2015

Draft civil aviation policy set to be finalised today

The ministry is expected to take decisions on key issues including the much-talked about ‛5/20 rule’ which sets the norms for airlines to fly abroad.

  1. All the airlines including incumbents had opposed the government’s proposal on replacing the 5/20 rule with a credit based system.
  2. The 5/20 rule means any airline with 5 years of domestic flying experience and 20 aircraft in its fleet were allowed to go abroad.
  3. The civil aviation ministry, in its internal meetings, has given a go-ahead to the proposed regional connectivity scheme.
  4. Through this scheme, a fund will be formed by levying a 2 per cent cess on all domestic and international tickets from next year to fund the losses of airlines flying on regional routes.
Dec, 02, 2015

Consultative Committee discusses Draft National Civil Aviation Policy

A meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation was held in New Delhi, to discuss the Draft National Civil Aviation Policy, 2015.

  1. It aims at providing a conducive environment and a level playing field to various aviation sub-sectors like Airlines, Airports, Cargo, Aerospace Manufacturing, and Skill Development.
  2. It also aims to bring air travel within reach of the common man by facilitating regional air connectivity at reasonable rates within the country.
  3. The committee lauded for the thrust it lays on regional connectivity and on making air travel available for the common man in smaller cities at reasonable costs.

Can we discuss core issues in Civil Aviation sector?

Nov, 02, 2015

Capping regional fares, under proposed RCS scheme, will hurt airlines, says CRISIL

  1. The proposed Regional connectivity scheme will be a big negative for the heavily indebted and loss-making airlines, as it would cap fares on regional routes.
  2. RCS needs more explanation as there is no clarity on whether a fare of Rs.2,500 per hour would be capped even for last-minute booking.
  3. Almost 50% of expenses of an airline are due to fuel costs, as total tax on jet fuel is around 45%. Some States levy as high as 30% tax on ATF.
  4. The linking of reduction in State level tax on ATF to 1% or below to avail the capped prices would help bring down the overall operational cost for airlines.
Oct, 31, 2015

Cap on small town fares mooted

The Civil Aviation Ministry unveiled the draft aviation policy after a wide-range of consultations.

  1. It proposed to cap small town route fares at Rs. 2,500 per flying hour per ticket.
  2. It has also proposed a 2% cess on all domestic trunk route tickets as well as international tickets to subsidise flights on small town routes.
  3. One of the initiatives proposed is the Regional Connectivity Scheme to boost air travel in smaller towns.
  4. The govt. will work towards revival of un-served airports, build no-frills airports and also give incentives and subsidies to stakeholders.
  5. The policy suggests a number of incentives for the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) sector.
  6. The draft proposes open skies policy for countries within 5,000 km with effect from April 1, 2020.
  7. However, the policy provides no clarity on the 5/20 rule.

The broader aim of the revised draft policy is to prepare the ground for 30-crore domestic ticketing by 2022 and 50 crore by 2027, besides targeting international ticketing at 20 crore.

Oct, 21, 2015

Vistara aims for the sky, but needs to do ground work

Bogged down by its poor network and small size, the airline is now rethinking its plans

  1. Nine months after its launch, Vistara seems to have returned to the drawing board.
  2. Vistara has an average passenger load factor of 60 per cent as compared to the average of 82 per cent in other airlines.
  3. The airline is clearly not drawing the crowds the way it had anticipated.
  4. Vistara distinguished itself by offering higher fares than the competition, but now it has been forced to match up its economy class fares with those of the no-frills carriers.
  5. Vistara is an Indian airline based in Gurgaon with its hub at Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The carrier, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. Vistara was the first airline to introduce premium economy seats on domestic routes in India

Oct, 21, 2015

Domestic passenger traffic climbs 15% in September

  1. Domestic air traffic posted a 15% increase last month as airlines carried 6.67 million passengers as compared to Sep 2014.
  2. The passenger load factor (PLF) was still at 77%.
  3. The 4 carriers, viz. Indigo, SpiceJet, GoAir and Air Costa reported growth in PLF, while the remaining 7 carriers registered decline.
Oct, 09, 2015

AAI readying sops to push GAGAN

Govt. wants commercial airlines and general aviation aircraft to use the national GPS augmentation system.

  1. AAI is considering incentives and programmes to accelerate GAGAN’s use.
  2. The govt.-owned Alliance Air and Pawan Hans Helicopters may be the first users.
  3. Experts point that GAGAN would reduce fuel expenditure and cost of flying in general.
  4. It would simplify flights to remote, hilly locations in the north-east and landing in small airports that do not have suitable ground aids.
  5. AAI and ISRO have jointly established the Rs. 770-crore GAGAN to ease air traffic and airport congestion across the country.
Oct, 07, 2015

Civil Aviation Policy to focus on lower fares

The policy would aim to thrust India from the 9th biggest civil aviation market to the 3rd position by 2020.

  1. The Ministry hopes to make regional air travel across the country as middle class-friendly as Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,500 per flying hour.
  2. It will be made possible through incentives and supportive measures to the aviation industry.
  3. The goals includes affordability for passengers, industry-enabling and increased air connectivity with small towns.
  4. A key element would be to activate the nearly 300 small airports and airstrips that are idle from out of 400 airports across the country.
Sep, 24, 2015

AAI to spend Rs. 1,000 crore on Chennai airport revamp

  1. Chennai airport is set to get a brand new look with the Airports Authority of India(AAI) planning to spend close to Rs. 1,000 crore on its revamp.
  2. This comes in the backdrop after the govt. decided to drop its earlier plan to privatise the airports.
  3. AAI is planning to make travel through the airport a seamless process for both domestic and international passengers.
  4. Its idea is to integrate not only the domestic and international parts of the terminal but also provide connectivity with the metro rail project.
Sep, 17, 2015

Govt plans subsidy on select routes to boost tier-2 traffic

Target-places :
# Underserved/unserved tourist destination
# Places on religious circuit
# Potential small scale bussiness travel

  1. Govt will provide a flat subsidy/ seat for a specified number of seats on selected routes to bring middle class population to airways.
  2. The incentivised routes will be put up for competitive bidding, and govt. will do viability gap funding.
  3. There will be no cap on air fares, because if company does not pass on the benefits to consumers then people won’t be interested in flying.
Sep, 17, 2015

Developing India’s airports: Private role is a public question

Why do we need private sector in developing airports?

  1. Air traffic in India is projected to triple by 2025 from current 190 m.
  2. It will require investments to the tune of $ 40-50 billion.
  3. Expand/upgrade airport infrastructure across country.
  4. To meet the demands for excess capacity.
  5. Airport operations is a commercial activity, govt. should limit its role.
  6. More efficiency of airports.
  7. Greater competition between airports to attract traffic.
  8. Higher exploitation of non-aeronautical assets, which will lead to revenue maximization.
  9. It will result in lower airport charges per user

Now, the question is that public sector has invested substantially, then why do we need private sector ?

  1. Building the assets & operating the same to world-class standard are different part of the game.
  2. Since most airports are operated by AAI there is no competition for airline traffic.
  3. High revenue from PPP mode could be channelised in developing no-frills airport in tier-2 & tier-3 cities.

Some questions which are still unanswered ?

Privatisation in Delhi & Mumbai has led to higher user charges. There is a need for having clarity on long-term role of AAI to develop airport capacity.

May, 27, 2015

Aviation Minister: Sky to be more vibrant

  1. 5/20 rule, a regulation found only in India, will be scrapped sooner.
  2. What’s this 5/20 rule? Allowing airlines to fly internationally only if they complete 5 years of domestic operations and have a fleet size of at least 20.
  3. There is no tax cut on ATF, which accounts for 40-45% of operation cost, is pulling airlines into red.
  4. Indian airlines are still struggling to make cargo an attractive segment.
May, 07, 2015

Flexible wings to change shape of aviation

  1. NASA has announced the successful completion of initial flight tests of a new morphing wing technology.
  2. Uses? Reduce an aircraft’s weight significantly + Reduce the noise it generates during flight
  3. Additionally, these flaps could also save the industry millions of dollars annually in fuel savings.

What exactly is this technology? Do you think Indian Aviation sector is ready for adoption of the next gen tech? 

  • Subscribe

    Do not miss important study material

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of