Aviation regulators to beef up strength amid fast-paced growth 

DGCA officials holding a meeting in New Delhi

Photo credit Twitter DGCA

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By Sanjay Singh 
New Delhi, August 26: After a long wait, the Central government has finally decided to increase the headcount at India’s civil aviation regulators, DGCA and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), to handle regulatory issues related to the domestic civil aviation sector that has witnessed multi-fold growth over the years.

While the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) takes care of the safety issues of civil aviation sector, the BCAS takes care of the security related issues.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Friday said both the regulators are completely independent and the government would have to ensure accountability, both on the safety and the security sides. The minister was speaking at a session at the Economy Summit.

“Now, with the huge expansion we are seeing in the civil aviation sector, it is even more pertinent that we augment the staffing and capabilities of both DGCA and BCAS. That is something that I am working on,” said the minister.

India’s civil aviation space is expected to witness a substantial growth in the coming years and so the government understanding the situation is working to augment the manpower and capabilities of regulators DGCA and BCAS. The current manpower and staff requirements at the regulators could not be immediately ascertained.

India currently has close to 700 aircraft and is adding aircraft at 15 per cent every year. With this, it is expected to have over 1,000 aircraft by Indian domestic carriers in next five years.

In the coming years, India is projected to have 400 million air travellers, including domestic and international flyers. Besides, the number of airports, heliports are also expected to increase to 220 in the country.

On the disinvestment of Air India, Scindia said ministers and bureaucrats handling the affairs of public sector undertakings on a day-to-day basis are not a healthy sign, and pointed out that the government’s role should be that of a visionary facilitator.

“My hands are quite full with or without Air India. While I was the minister, I did not interfere in the day-to-day affairs of Air India,” the minister explained.

“I am very confident that under the new management, it (Air India) will soar to new heights. with fleet expansion plans, a reservoir of expertise on IT and hospitality fronts, I believe that lot of that should come to bear on the value proposition of customers of Air India in the days to come,” Scindia said.

(Sanjay Singh has been writing on Civil Aviation for over 20 years, with past in India Today, The New Indian Express, The Statesman)

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