Civil Aviation Ministry Current Affairs - 2020

Lok Sabha passes Aircraft (Amendment) bill, 2020

The Lok Sabha recently passed Aircraft (Amendment) bill, 2020. The bill was passed through voice vote in the lower house. The amendments are being made to fulfil the requirements of International Civil Aviation Organization.

Highlights

The amendment aims to regulate three regulatory bodies namely Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCA), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB). The amendment will make these bodies effective and enhance safety and security of aircraft operations.

The bill when passed as an act will allow the central government to make rules on inspecting aircraft, rules for flying an aircraft and also to measure civil aviation safeguards against unlawful interference.

Penalties

The bill allows central government to cancel licenses, approvals and certificates. It also includes issuing licenses to repair, operate and maintain aircrafts. The bill also proposes that a court that is equivalent or superior to metropolitan magistrate can hear cases under the act.

About the regulatory bodies

The DGCA carries out safety and regulatory functions. The BCAS discharges oversees civil aviation security functions. The AAIB is the body that is responsible for carrying out investigations of air accidents.

What are the current penalties?

The Aircraft Act, 1934 includes penalties such as carrying arms, explosives and other dangerous goods, contravening rules notified under the act and building structures withing aerodrome perimeters.

Why the amendment?

The Civil Aviation Organization conducted an audit in 2015. According to the audit, there was a need to amend the act to recognize and regulate the bodies and empower officers to impose penalties for violating the legal provisions.

Government approves proposal for setting up of water aerodromes in the country

Union Civil Aviation Ministry has given in-principle approval to set up water aerodromes in the country. To start with it has identified five states: Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Assam for development of water aerodromes. In the first phase of the project, Chilka Lake (Odisha), Sabarmati River Front and Sardar Sarovar Dam (Gujarat) have been identified for the development of such facilities.

Key Facts

Airdrome is location from which aircraft flight operations take place, regardless of whether they involve air cargo, passengers. The development of aerodromes projects in India will pave way for operation of amphibian planes (both in land and water) to enhance air connectivity. These water aerodromes will be set up near tourist locations and places of religious importance.

Since there is no historical data, the project will be done on a pilot basis, initially. The entity looking to set up water aerodrome has to take approvals from authorities, including ministries of defence, home, environment and forests, and shipping. DGCA already has issued regulations prescribing procedure and requirement for licensing of water aerodromes.

The water aerodrome cannot be used for scheduled air transport services without licence. The issued licence will be valid for two years. Initially, provisional licence will be issued for period of six months, during which implementation of water aerodrome operation will be monitored and regular licence will be accorded afterwards.

Sea-planes

Sea-planes are small fixed-wing aircrafts designed for taking off and landing on water and do not require capital-intensive infrastructure for operations. They are considered ideal for high-end travel to destinations that are far by road and are not equipped with airports. They require either 1-km long airstrip or water body, which is one km long and at least 10 feet deep.