Aviation Sector Current Affairs - 2019

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AAI to set up Civil Aviation Research Organisation in Hyderabad

State-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) is going to set up state-of-the-art Civil Aviation Research Organization (CARO) at Hyderabad’s Begumpet Airport. Foundation stone of the centre was laid by Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu. For this project, AAI has earmarked Rs 1,200 crore which will be spent over 12 years for research and development (R&D).

Civil Aviation Research Organization (CARO)

CARO will be spread over 27 acres and cater needs of growing needs air navigation services and airport and engineering research. It is expected to be built in three years. It will houses latest infrastructure and be equipped with simulators. Its focus will be on pursuing inter-disciplinary solutions to improve the civil aviation sector.

CARO will find indigenous solutions to meet the challenges posed by growing air traffic and for enhancing safety, capacity and efficiency of aircraft operations in the country. It will take up research work on four priority areas: increasing airport throughput with existing infrastructural limitations, airspace optimization, cost-effective infrastructure solutions for upcoming 56 airports under Region Connectivity Scheme (RCS) and integrating drones in civil airspace.

Background

India’s civil aviation sector is growing at hectic pace of over 20% and this growth is expected to continue in same momentum in future. This will require significant improvement to existing infrastructure and creation of new infrastructure to keep pace with the progress. The new research centre is expected to play important role in developing solutions and addressing problems airports currently face.

UDAN scheme: First commercial flight of Arunachal Pradesh lands at Pasighat

The first commercial flight (42-seater ATR aircraft of the Alliance Airlines) of Arunachal Pradesh under UDAN scheme landed at Pasighat airport or Advance Landing Ground (ALG) in East Siang district. This historic moment puts border state on the aviation map of the country.

Key Facts

Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, will operate flight services on Kolkata-Guwahati-Pasighat route thrice a week – on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Pasighat airport is on advance landing ground or ALG, meant to support operations of small aircraft and some military planes. This commercial flight connectivity opens up new vistas of economic development in the region and also provide ample opportunities for tourism industry of the state as it removes connectivity bottleneck faced by bordering state earlier.

Background

Arunachal Pradesh has some 120 helipads and 10 advanced landing grounds, built for defence as well as civil operations. Under UDAN scheme, eight locations in border state have been selected by bidders. Out of which Pasighat and Tezu have been selected for fixed wing.  Ziro, Daporijo, Itanagar, Tuting, Wallong and Yingkiong have been selected for helicopter services.

UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) Scheme

UDAN RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) was launched in October 2016 to develop the regional aviation market. It is vital component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), 2016. It aims to make flying affordable by providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of country through revival of existing airstrips and airports so that persons in regional towns are able to take affordable flights.

It is applicable on flights covering distance between 200 km and 800 km with no lower limit set for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions. It seeks to reserve a minimum number of UDAN seats i.e. seats at subsidized rates and also cap fare for short distance flights. It has unique market-based model to develop regional connectivity. It has Viability Gap Funding (VDF) mechanism to meet the VGF requirements under the scheme. Airports Authority of India (AAI) is implementing agency of the scheme.