Srinagar- In a move aimed to boost the tourism industry in Jammu and Kashmir, the Civil Aviation Ministry on Monday announced plans to expand the terminal at the Srinagar International Airport from the current 20,000 square meters to 60,000 square meters at a cost of whopping Rs 1500 crore.
The announcement about it was made by Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia while inaugurating 4th Heli-India Summit 2022, here at SKICC, Srinagar on Monday, an official spokesperson said.
J&K Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha was the chief guest at the summit with the theme ‘Helicopters for last Mile Connectivity’.
According to the spokesperson, Scindia said that the decrease in VAT on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) from 26.5 percent to one percent by the J&K government has set a new dawn for air connectivity in the Union territory with 360 percent increase in refuelling, thus increasing the air connectivity to Jammu and Kashmir.
Praising PM 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 has increased to 141, with 67 added in last seven years which shows the pace of progress in the Civil Aviation sector.
“The government is committed to increase the number to above 200 in the next few years,” Scindia added.
The Minister, as per the spokesperson said that the Civil Aviation has 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.
“The sector has a huge impact with an economic multiplier of 3.1 and employment multiplier of 6.Therefore, the Civil Aviation across the world today forms a very important cog of the wheel of economic development,” Scindia said.
The Minister, the spokesperson said, also stated that helicopters have multifarious roles, providing urban connectivity which is no more an elitist prerogative in India but is based on PM Narendra Modi’s vision ‘Sab Ude, Sab Jude’.
“The other roles of helicopter service has been the emergency medical services and disaster management during floods, rescue operations etc,” Scindia said.
“Jammu & Kashmir 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 Peer Panjal mountain range,” he added.
Scindia, the spokesperson said further maintained that the Civil Aviation Ministry not only organizes summits but also monitors the progress of ‘Sankalps’ taken from one summit to another.
The Minister, he said, further stated that during the 3rd Heli-India Summit at Dehradun, the eight Sankalps taken like providing Heli-Sewa Portal, Heli-Disha, Helicopter Accelerator Cell, doing away with the landing & 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 etc. were taken to their logical end.
“We have waived off landing and parking charges for helicopters at airports and we have started helicopter sensitization training of ATC officers for speedier helicopter traffic handling. Three helicopter corridors from Mumbai-Pune, Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar, and Shamshabad-Begumpet have been created and 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 it can be used for the evacuation of accident victims. And we have already commenced work on the upgradation of Juhuhelibase which is the largest in the country, to accommodate night operations and helicopter IFR routes using GAGAN,” Scindia said.
He further informed that today the guidelines on Fractional Ownership Model have 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 aeroplanes 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 on the cost of acquisition of helicopters and aeroplanes through pooled capital by multiple owners,” Scindia said.
“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 a NSOP business. Fractional Ownership Model has the potential to energize 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 transportation vehicle but a transformation tool, it can be used not only for economic development but could also to transform lives.” he added.
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