Visakhapatnam: Efforts are on to tap the potential in the aviation sector which has already produced good results, Union Minister for Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said here on Monday. Delivering the inaugural address at the three-day international conference on, ‘Bird/Wildlife Strike Prevention’, being organised by the World Birdstrike Association (WBA)-South Asia, he said that with about ten crore air passengers, India was the third largest nation in the world in air passenger traffic. Still, there was a lot of potential and India could reach the first position by tapping it, he added.
Of course, there was need to improve the infrastructure if India has to reach the top, he pointed out. At present, there were 70 operational airports in the country and 14 were developed during the past few years. Another 65 airports were being developed, he revealed. On the perils posed by bird/wildlife hits to aircraft, he said that it was not a new development. The speed of planes has gone up and noise levels have come down, thereby confusing the birds, he noted. “The role of municipalities has gone up to prevent dumping of garbage around airports. The density of population around airports has also gone up and the downtime of aircraft was also going up. All these factors need to be considered in finding remedies to the problem,” he said.
Raju advised the airports authorities to recognise the areas of concern and address them by involving all the stakeholders. He also referred to other aspects of safety like terrorist threats to aircraft. In a lighter vein he recalled the incidents of airline passengers being beaten up by airline staff and the other way round.
Principal Secretary- Energy, Ajay Jain said that India was poised to become the number one in the world in air passenger traffic by 2030. He spoke on the measures being taken by the State government to improve air connectivity from AP and to increase the air passenger traffic like reduction of VAT on aviation turbine fuel to one per cent. Vice-president, WBA South Asia Lalita Vaswani and WBA-India member Raman Emani also participated in the inaugural function.