India’s Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Sh. P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, inaugurated the International Civil Helicopters Conclave 2015 in New Delhi today. Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Culture and Tourism (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma was also present on the occasion. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony Shri Raju called upon all stakeholders to come up with new ideas to give a boost to the civil aviation sector as a whole, and the helicopter industry in the country in particular. He said that a new Civil Aviation Policy is in the process of being drafted. Once it is ready, response and comments of stakeholders will be sought, so that a vibrant and forward-looking policy can be put in place. The minister also said that the facility of flying should not be restricted to only the privileged people in the country. We should put policies in place so that flying becomes affordable and reaches the masses.
Speaking on the occasion, MoS Civil Aviation, Culture and Tourism (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma stressed upon the need to increase helicopter services to the northeastern and hilly areas of the country where road connectivity is a major problem. He talked about the need to create heli hubs in Delhi and Guwahati to facilitate smooth navigation of helicopters.
Addressing the conclave Shri R. N. Choubey, Secretary of Civil Aviation, said that the new Civil Aviation Policy that is being drafted recognizes the special needs of the helicopter sector, and efforts are being made to put in place a separate set of regulations for this sector. He said the helicopter sector needs light touch regulations. The new civil aviation policy, including the policies of DGCA will have such light touch regulations without compromising with overall safety requirements. The Secretary further informed that the proposed Civil Aviation Policy seeks to simplify procedures and remove policy blocks so that more and more people can fly. Shri Choubey informed that regional connectivity and religious tourism using helicopters will be given a major push under the new policy. He said that efforts are on to work out fiscal initiatives for the sector with the Ministry of Finance. Shri Choubey further said that talks are on with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways to work out ways for a quick and low-cost evacuation of victims of road accidents. Talking on the issue of safety of helicopter travel, the Secretary informed that GAGAN satellite-assisted navigation systems which provide one-meter resolution even in unregulated air space will be used for efficient monitoring and tracking of helicopter movement.
Shri Raju also inaugurated an exhibition on Safety Management System, Multi Mission Utility, and Regional Air Connectivity. He launched the corporate logo of Pawan Hans Limited and released a coffee table book on the occasion. The conclave marks the 30th anniversary of Pawan Hans Limited. It is a one-day event with three technical sessions. Smt. M Sathiyavathy, DG, DGCA, Shri Arun Mishra, Regional Director, ICAO; Dr. B. P. Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director, Pawan Hans Ltd.; and other senior officials of the ministry were also present on the occasion.