“AAI Is Committed To Commencing Work In This Financial Year At Five Locations”
Airport authority of India has drawn flak from every corner for its laid down approach towards its working. But the change in the guard of government may have some impact on the functioning of this department. G M Siddeshwara, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, talks to Uday India about the work done by his department and the proposed initiatives for its betterment. Excerpts:
Besides metropolitan cities, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities don’t have air connectivity in the country. Also, many of these cities can be a tourist destination, but due to lack of airports, they are out of the tourist map. What are you doing in this regard?
We have finalised a new model to incorporate these Tier 2 and 3 cities known as No Frills airport model . In order to promote regional and remote area connectivity with a focus on promoting tourism industry and other economic activities in Tier-2 and Tier 3 cities, AAI has developed a Low Cost Model airport which will provide the essential services required to operationalise an airport. This would result in low cost of operation and improve the viability for the airlines to run their services. It would be a No Frills Airport model without compromising safety or security. AAI is committed to commencing work in this financial year at five locations.
Keeping in mind the carbon emission from the aerospace industry, what are the steps Airport Authority of India is taking?
Airports Authority of India in its endeavour to tap alternate sources of energy has decided to establish Solar Photo Voltaic Power Plants at its airports to meet not only its own requirements but also to feed the surplus power generated to the local grid thereby playing the progressive role of prosumer. Setting up of solar power plants will not only achieve significant savings in power bills over a period of time but also result in significant reduction in carbon emissions apart from making airports self sustainable so far as energy requirement is concerned. An MoU for establishment of solar power plants has been signed between Airports Authority of India and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) on 28th May, 2014. The MoU includes setting up of solar plants of 50 MW capacities. To use full potential of the large areas available, airport roof tops have also been included for this process. Further, AAI is also in the process of identifying the outlets where the tapped energy can be channelized including storage in recharged batteries and other applications of renewable energy for various establishments at airports. These plants will be installed on surplus land available with AAI and at large roof tops of AAI’s airport structures.
There are many grievances of the passengers and mainly from disabled passengers. What actions are you taking in redressing these grievances?
We are taking these grievances very seriously and have taken few steps in this regard, like facilitation of disabled passengers: An order in the form of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) has already been issued on facilities to be provided to disabled passengers. The said order besides existing facilities, extends following facilities to the disabled persons:
- Check in baggage will be delivered to disabled persons either at the ladder point or exit of escalator belt.
- Airline Ground Handling Staff will be provided specialised training to handle disabled persons.
- On damage of assistive equipment of disabled persons, he will be compensated by Airport Operator or Airline or GSA who is responsible for the damage.
- QR code based mobile a pplication for Public Grievance System started at 20 Airports in the last 100 days and the system will be started in remaining Airports by March 31st , 2015.
What has the DGCA done for pasenger-related information, their rights and grievance redressal mechanism?
A new portal KYR has been finalised by DGCA for passenger-related information, their rights and grievance redressal mechanism, etc. The information will be provided on the rights of passengers in cases of delays, cancellation and denied boarding; Lost, delayed, misplaced and damaged baggage; and on matters relating to booking, airfare components & on refund of air tickets. The information will also cover the passengers requiring special assistance i.e. passengers with reduced mobility or disability and senior citizens, expectant mothers, first time travellers, etc. The information on availability of Grievance Redressal Mechanism under the relevant Civil Aviation Requirements, Names of Nodal Officers & Appellate Authority of airline/airport operator along with their contact number and email address as also the dedicated email of DGCA firstname.lastname@example.org shall be shared with the public.
The department has been flaked down for its lacklustre approach. Do you have any plan for improving this scenario?
Many initiatives are being made to spruce up the activities of the departments. A special drive was undertaken to weed out of the old files/record from and 12977 files have been reviewed, 3839 files have been recorded and 9146 files have been weeded out. Channel of submission has been reviewed to keep maximum four levels of submission and new Office Order has been issued. Bio-metric system has been installed as a result of which Punctuality has improved considerably. All Divisional Heads are also monitoring the attendance of their respective Divisions regularly. The entire office building has now been Wi-fi enabled since July 27, 2014.
To spruce up and improve the buildings and work places of the Offices at the behest of Prime Minister, Workplace Managers at the level of Directors/Deputy Secretaries have been appointed by this Ministry to carry out inspection in the Ministry on a rotational basis every week. The Workplace Managers are inspecting the office areas every Friday along with Civil/ Electrical Representatives of AAI and the General Section and identifying works to be undertaken during the weekend. Their report is reviewed by Secretary in Senior Officers weekly meeting.
What are the initiatives Airport Authority of India is taking to make it a world standard industry?
We have made many changes in the policy—framing process of this department. These changes will eventually lead to upgrade the industry to international levels. Some of the proposed initiatives are: e-GCA Project: In order to enhance productivity, quality of service, transparency and effectiveness, DGCA is introducing the e-Governance for Civil Aviation (eGCA) Project which envisages online service delivery through automation of the systems and processes. The project covers entire functioning of DGCA viz., issuance of licenses, certificates and approvals for pilots, engineers, air operators, airports including their renewal. DGCA has finalised RFP and invited tenders for the same. The commercial bid have been evaluated and will be awarded soon.
What are the objectives of Remote and Regional Area Air Connectivity Policy?
The objective of Remote and Regional Area Air Connectivity Policy is to encourage airlines to operate in remote and regional areas and cover such airports where infrastructure has been developed for operations by offering concessions/incentives, making it obligatory to fly to certain areas or providing viability gap support for operations. A draft discussion paper on the revised Policy has been uploaded on the Ministry’s website for inviting comments from stakeholders. Based on the comments received and industry consultations, final Policy will be issued.
What is the government doing to improve aviation security?
In order to improve aviation security and create deterrence, it is proposed to introduce Anti-hijacking Bill 2014 by repealing the Anti-hijacking Act 1982 (as amended in 1994). The proposed legislation will enlarge the scope and definition of “Hijacking” and enhance the prescribed punishment which will confiscate the property of perpetrators as well as of conspirators/abettors. Accordingly, a Cabinet Note for the introduction of Anti-hijacking Bill 2014 has been prepared.