This Article is From May 16, 2020

Air Space Restrictions To Be Eased To Cut Flying Time, Fuel Cost: Centre

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced that six more airports would be auctioned to private players.

As of today only 50% of India's airspace is free for use, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Highlights

  • Easing of airspace to generate Rs 1,000 crore per year, says minister
  • Minister gives details of 6 airports to be auctioned to private players
  • Minister makes announcement during 4rth briefing on mega economic package
New Delhi:

Restrictions on Indian air space will be eased to reduce travel time and save fuel, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today, in her fourth set of announcements on a mega stimulus package to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis on various sectors. She also gave details of six airports to be auctioned to private players.

The easing of airspace use would translate to benefits of about Rs 1,000 crore per year for the aviation sector, the minister said.

"As of today, only 60% of India's airspace is free for use. This needs to be increased and optimised. This will not only save cost of fuel, but also save time. This is being done to give civil aviation a boost. This is a sector which has tremendous potential in India," Ms Sitharaman said.

For the creation of more world class airports in India, six more airports have been identified for immediate bidding for private participation.

Also, an additional investment of Rs 13,000 crore would be made by private players in 12 airports auctioned in two previous rounds of bidding, Ms Sitharaman said.

The Finance Minister also said the tax regime for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) had been rationalized.

Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul of aircraft are currently done abroad but the government would now encourage this in India. "Once a hub is set up, India can even be an attractive market for foreign airlines to get MRO done here. This will be done both for military and civilian aircraft. This will save at least Rs 800-1,200 crore every two years," she said.

The government said major engine manufacturers in the world would set up engine repair facilities in India in the coming year.

Ms Sitharaman has been addressing a series of press conferences after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a Rs 20 lakh crore special economic package for the country to become ''self-reliant'' and deal with COVID-19 crisis.