Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ajit Singh on Saturday said talks are on with the Planning Commission for an allocation of Rs 65-75,000 crore for aviation.
“This spend will perhaps be best utilised if used for the second and third tier cities. Smaller airports would not only contribute significantly to the GDP but also increase development in towns.
“We will encourage feeder aircrafts, smaller airline operators and others to help with this vision. When an airport comes up, the number of jobs and economic status in the surrounding area shoot up,” he added.
Reflecting on all the controversy surrounding the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the AAI, Singh calmly revealed that his plan to “revamp and reorganise” the aviation regulating bodies was under way. “These bodies were set up three decades ago and their systems and practices are out-of-date,” he rued, pointing out that even now AAI worked out the bay allocation of planes at airports manually.
“No one knows how much money is being collected (at various airports) or how much fuel is used (by airlines). So, we hired a consultant to help us understand how best to collate data in one place with better systems and we will act on it soon.”
This might well be the precursor for the “stronger, more modern” civil aviation authority that Singh has envisioned to replace DGCA.
On shifting of former DGCA E K Bharat Bhushan, Singh said that it was an “administrative decision” and dismissed all claims of his purported note on Kingfisher Airlines’ financial status.