Jyotiraditya M Scindia, Minister for Civil Aviation and Steel, Govt of India today announced 3 new projects for enhancing the helicopter sector in the country which includes Project Akash, HEMS and fractional ownership. The Minister launched a new Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) under project ‘Sanjeevani’ and the service will start at AIIMS, Rishikesh. “Through the learnings from project ‘Sanjeevani’, we will put in place a National Helicopter Medical Emergency plan in the days to come,” he added.
Addressing the ‘4th Heli-India Summit 2022 – Helicopters for Last Mile Connectivity’, organized by FICCI, jointly with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt of India and Govt of J&K, Mr Scindia said that the government intends to expand medical outreach and access to trauma care services to a wider population across the country using helicopters.
Scindia also announced project – ‘Akash’ to enhance the safety in helicopter operations and provide all-weather day and night access. The government has started to develop helicopter specific low level IFR route using GAGAN under the project Akash. “This will greatly benefit the helicopters and small aircraft operations to non-IFR airfields and helipads,” he added.
Speaking on the airspace corridor, Scindia said that the government has already set-up 3 dedicated helicopter corridor in the country. “We will create additional helicopter corridors where there is greater congestion to provide new areas for these sectors to grow,” he added.
The Minister highlighted that our scheduled operations by carriers are increasing in the country, and we also need to promote non-scheduled operators (NSOPs). “We have introduced a new concept of ‘fractional ownership’ concept in the country today,” he said and added that this will help in owning the flying time of an aircraft by a large pool of people rather than buying the plane. “Democratization of owning an aircraft will start with the concept of fractional ownership,” asserted Scindia.
Helicopters, he said have multifarious role by providing urban connectivity and the government has started providing helicopter connectivity between airports and cities at economical rates. Helicopters also have important role in providing medical services along with disaster management. In last one year, the government has introduced ‘Heli Sewa’ portal for providing all permissions to operators there by providing Ease of Doing Business. We also have introduced Heli-Disha to set up more helipads, one helipad in one district, he added. “The government has also removed all landing and parking charges for helicopters to boost the sector,” he added.
Speaking on the future of Indian Civil Aviation market, Scindia said that civil aviation across the world today forms a very important cog of the wheel of economic development. In 2014, India had 74 airports and in last 8 years, we have added 67 new airports, water aerodromes and heliports. “In the next 5 years, we will go from current 141 airports to 200 airports in the country,” he emphasized.
Applauding the efforts of the J&K government in reduce the VAT on ATF, Scindia said that with the reduction in VAT, the overall passenger flow has increased in the state. “The government is working on further expanding the airport infrastructure both in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor, Government of Jammu & Kashmir said that the state has a lot of potential and the government has taken a series of steps to improve the tourism and civil aviation sector in the state. He added that with the new Industrial policy announced by the government, the state has attracted around Rs 56,000 crore of investment proposals out of which Rs 38,000 crore have already been approved. “During the Azadi ka Amrit kaal, J&K should progress with new reforms with improvement in basic infrastructure thereby improvement in the economy,” he added.
Sinha stated that there is a lot of potential for helicopter sector to grow in the state and there are a lot of unexplored destinations which can be discovered to promote tourism. “Heli-Tourism is needed for the state to flourish, and the government will support the industry in every way. J&K is on the path of economic growth and all stakeholders are needed to take it forward,” he added.
Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt of India said that in last one year, several initiatives have been taken including leasing of helicopters, HEMS, expanding the scope under Heli-Sewa and we are working on the concept of fractional ownership. “There is a great potential for helicopters in promoting tourism in the state. With the proliferation of helicopters, we will have a potential of OEMs to set-up manufacturing and MRO in India and the government is working in this direction,” he added.
The government is also working on introducing Electronic Vertical Take-off and Landing devises which are emerging technologies and have potential to bring change in usage of rotary wing aircrafts in the county, he stated.
Remi Maillard, Chairman, FICCI Civil Aviation Committee and President & MD, Airbus India said that FICCI will work closely with the Civil Aviation Ministry to accelerate the implementation of various announcements by the government. The civil helicopter market needs more than just policy push from the government and the role of industry is critical. We will support the government in developing the helicopter market in the country, he stated.
Usha Padhee, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt of India delivered the vote of thanks.