Defence airspace may be partially opened up by next year end

Last Updated: Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 21:56

New Delhi: The Indian defence airspace
might be opened up partially by next year end to cater to the
growing civilian air traffic, a top aviation official said
today.

"Almost 30 per cent of the total (Indian) airspace is
controlled by defence. This can be opened up for flexible and
dual use by next year end," AAI Chairman V P Aggarwal said.

Currently, the defence airspace is completely out of
the purview of civilian air traffic.

Discussions have been going on for over three years
between the ministries of Defence and Civil Aviation on dual
use of defence airspace due to the high growth in civilian air
traffic but no agreement has been reached as yet.

Addressing a seminar on civil aviation organised by
the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce here, he said the AAI
(Airports Authority of India) was going full steam in
developing Kolkata, Chennai and 35 non-metro airports across
the country.

While the newly-developed airport in Lucknow would be
commissioned in the next three months, Thiruvananthapuram and
Mangalore would soon have new terminals soon.

"Generally, the upgraded and modernised terminals are
being constructed six times bigger than the existing ones,"
Aggarwal said.

According to the AAI chief, the organisation was
planning to induct staffers of the Indian Meteorological
Department on deputation to provide better weather forecast
for air traffic and assist the air traffic control.

Civil Aviation Secretary M M Nambiar asked Indian and
foreign companies and financial institutions to invest more in
MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) activities in India.

Observing that there was "great potential" for
investments in MRO activities, he said Hyderabad and Bangalore
could be developed as MRO hubs so that aircraft from the
entire Asian region be serviced and maintained there.

Boeing India President Dinesh Keskar, who also heads
the Indo-American Chamber, announced that Air India would
start getting the next generation aircraft B-787 Dreamliner
from the second quarter of 2011. The national carrier has
placed orders for 27 of these aircraft.

According to reports, Jet Airways is in talks with
Boeing to change an existing order for 10 B 787-8 Dreamliners
to the B 787-9s, which will only start flying in 2013.

The B 787-9s are a stretched version of the same
aircraft which can seat 250-290 passengers, compared with 201
-250 in B 787-8s. The 787-9 can also fly longer distances.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 21:56

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