Srinagar: Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M Scindia Monday said that a civil enclave would be built in Jammu at Rs 861 crore and Srinagar’s present terminal would be expanded three times from 20,000 square meters to 60,000 square meters at Rs 1500 crore.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that inaugurating the 4th Heli-India Summit 2022 ‘Helicopters for last Mile Connectivity’ at SKICC, Srinagar, in presence of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, Scindia said that the decrease in VAT on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) from 26.5 percent to one percent by the J&K government had set new dawn for air connectivity in J&K with 360 percent increase in refueling, increasing the air connectivity to J&K.
“J&K has set an example of the best use of helicopter service when it erected transmission lines and towers using heli-cranes (sky cranes) on the Pir Panjal mountain range,” he said.
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing a revolution in the civil aviation sector in India from 2014 onwards, Scindia said that from 1947 to 2014, the country had only 74 airports, but now the number had increased to 141, with 67 added in last seven years which shows the pace of progress in the civil aviation sector.
He said that the government was committed to increasing the number to over 200 in the next few years.
Scindia said that civil aviation had now become the need of the hour not only for India but for humankind across the world as it always brings with it two important multipliers, the economic multiplier, and the employment multiplier.
He said that the sector had a huge impact with an economic multiplier of 3.1 and an employment multiplier of 6.
Scindia said civil aviation across the world today forms a very important cog in the wheel of economic development.
He said that helicopters had multifarious roles, providing urban connectivity which was no more an elitist prerogative in India but based on PM Modi’s vision of ‘Sab Ude, Sab Jude'.
“The other roles of helicopter service have been in the emergency medical services and disaster management during floods, and rescue operations,” Scindia said.
He said that the Civil Aviation Ministry not only organises summits but also monitors the progress of ‘Sankalps’ taken from one summit to another.
“During the 3rd Heli-India Summit at Dehradun, the eight Sankalps like providing Heli-Sewa Portal, HeliDisha, Helicopter Accelerator Cell, doing away with the landing and parking charges for helicopter service, creation of specific helicopter corridors, helipads to be given priority while framing DPR for all new highways, upgradation of Juhu airbase to accommodate night operations were taken,” Scindia said. “HeliSewa portal is fully online and being used by all operators for obtaining landing permissions to helipads. It is also creating a database of helipads in the country. HeliDisha, the guidance material on helicopter operations for state administration has been distributed to 780 districts. The Helicopter Accelerator Cell is fully active in resolving helicopter issues and the advisory group of the industry representatives is helping identify problem areas.”
He said that the government had waived landing and parking charges for helicopters at airports and started helicopter sensitisation training of ATC officers for speedier helicopter traffic handling.
“Three helicopter corridors from Mumbai-Pune, Ahmedabad-Gandhi Nagar, and Shamshabad-Begumpet have been created. New IFR corridors are being planned. Working with MoRTH, we have been able to allot helipad spaces from the design stage for all future expressways and major highways so that these could be used for the evacuation of accident victims. And we have already commenced work on the upgradation of Juhu helibase which is the largest in the country, to accommodate night operations and helicopter IFR routes using GAGAN,” Scindia said.
He said that the guidelines on the Fractional Ownership Model had been released to help grow the non-scheduled operations.
“While our scheduled operations are on the fast track and we have increased the fleet size from 400 airplanes in 2013 to more than 700 in 2021-22, through these guidelines, we should be able to spur growth in the non-scheduled fleet too. Fractional ownership will lower the barrier to the cost of the acquisition of helicopters and airplanes through pooled capital by multiple owners. This will allow companies and individuals to minimise their capital outflow by sharing the purchase cost, reducing their exposure to risks, and making it financially easier to run an NSOP business,” Scindia said. “Fractional Ownership Model has the potential to energise the NSOP segment by democratising ownership of aircraft and it can be a key driver to boost the number of aircraft existing in the NSOP industry. The helicopter industry should be recognised for its social service. It is not a vehicle of transportation but a tool of transformation. It can be used not only for economic development but also to transform lives.”
He said that the government had decided to incubate a HEMS pilot called Project Sanjeevani by deploying a helicopter in the next few weeks to provide emergency medical services at AIIMS Rishikesh.
“The helicopter will be based at the hospital at 20-minute notice and will have a service cover to an area of 150 km radius. The government intends to expand medical outreach and access to trauma care services to a wider population base across the country using the speed advantage and mobility of helicopters,” Scindia said. “We will use the learnings from Project Sanjeevani to explore the viability of the concept, its benefits, and the attendant risks and later articulate a national policy on HEMS before committing larger resources.”