Centre to fly in aircraft manufacturing policy as aviation sector booms
DNA , Jan 16, 2019
The central government set the stage for aircraft manufacturing in India while releasing the updated draft of drone policy that would boost usage of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in infrastructure projects, monitoring of rail/road traffic, inspection of agricultural land and transportation of medical equipment, among others.
Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu said a roadmap is being drafted to support aircraft manufacturing in India, which will be brought out soon.
Prabhu said that normally the manufacturing activities take place near the industry, which uses the product. But in case of airplane manufacturing, it is happening far away from one of the fastest growing aviation market in the world.
At present, Indian companies manufacture aircraft parts.
Prabhu said the drone policy is expected to encourage the development of infrastructure (such as UAS traffic management system, drone corridor and droneports) necessary for expansion and penetration of UAS-based commercial services, without compromising on safety and security.
"Consequently, an evolving infrastructure would also increase job opportunities and simultaneously incentivise domestic as well as foreign technology advancements and investments in this space," said the report.
Drones are expected to be $886 million market in India by 2021, while the global market is likely to touch $21.47 billion.
The officials said the commercial UAS operations will foster various new forms of air freight capabilities, such as creation of supply chain relay networks for delivery of payload, transport of temperature sensitive commodities like bodily organs, emergency or just-in-time deliveries of life-saving medicines or safe blood for transfusions and collection of patient specimens for delivery to laboratory for time-sensitive testing.
The government had earlier launched DigitalSky platform under Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) with e?ect from December 1, 2018, to develop an ecosystem for drones. The focus of the updated policy was to address the challenges on issues such as beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and autonomous operations.
The officals said DigitalSky and Dynamic Zoning also allows regulators to respond quickly to security and safety needs by being able to limit permissions in areas where they may be sudden security, safety or privacy challenges. Artificial intelligence may also be considered to be integrated in the UTM system to perform tasks of dynamic re-routing more efficiently than humans. Each UAS must be equipped with appropriate navigation and communication software and hardware to allow for live telemetry and other data exchange with a UTM service provider. Droneports are proposed to be designated areas dedicated to facilitate take-off and landing of UAS. However, over the time their capabilities may be enhanced to function as distribution centres (or cargo holds), battery charging stations and/or any other appropriate use. Licensing of such ports may be granted by the concerned authorities upon meeting the prescribed technical requirements.
The government also released a national air cargo policy which aims at making India an air cargo hub. Air cargo handled at Indian airports has grown more than 20 times from 0.08 million metric tonne (mmt) in 1972-73 to 2.5 mmt in 2014-15. During the period 2013-14 to 2017-18 it accelerated sharply and grew with a CAGR of 10%, says the report. International cargo comprises 60% of total air cargo tonnes handled in India and grew a 15.6% in 2017-18. Domestic air cargo grew over 8%, which reflects the skewed modal mix in which roads account for over 60% of cargo transportation as compared to the global average of around 30%.
The Indian air passenger traffic is expected to grow sixfold to 1.1 billion passengers by 2040, claims the Vision 2040 document shared by the civil aviation ministry. The document prepared by consultancy KPMG and industry body FICCI said the commercial fleet in India will rise to 2,359 planes during the same period. The Indian aviation is expected to have 190-200 operational airports by 2040. The report said Mumbai and Delhi will have three airports each.
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