Civil Aviation Sector in India

India is the fastest-growing aviation market. Liberalisation of the aviation sector in nineties resulted in a remarkable growth, as a large number of private service airlines entered the sector. The total number of airports or airfields recognisable from the air are more than 475 however, only 75 are in use and the number of operational airports is 68.  The most important driving factors for civil aviation in India include ideal geographic location between the eastern and western hemisphere; a 300 million strong middle class and a rapidly growing economy. A shift in global traffic to Asia Pacific is also an important factor for India’s Civil Aviation Industry.

The formulation of national policy in civil aviation is done by Ministry of Civil Aviation. It also oversees the airport facilities, air traffic services, carriage of passengers and goods by air, safeguarding civil aviation operations, regulation of air transport services, licensing of aerodromes, air carriers, pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers.

Commission of Railway Safety

Kindly note that Commission of Railway Safety, a body responsible for safety in rail travel and operation comes under the administration of Ministry of Civil Aviation not railways.

Sector Overview

In Civil Aviation public sector, we have National Aviation Company of India Limited (Air India), Indian Airlines, Alliance Air and Air India Charters Ltd. while in private sector we have six private scheduled operators, viz., Jet Airways (India) Ltd., Jetlite Airlines, Go Airlines (India) Pvt. Ltd., Spicejet Ltd., Paramount Airways Pvt. Ltd., and Inter Globe Aviation Ltd. (IndiGO). Further, there is a new category of scheduled airlines i.e. Scheduled Air Transport (Regional) services has been introduced to enhance connectivity to smaller cities and within a region. MDLR airlines is operating as regional scheduled airlines in northern region. Three cargo airlines viz., Blue Aviation Pvt Ltd., Deccan Cargo and Express Logistics (Pvt.) Ltd. and Aryan Cargo Express Pvt. Ltd. are operating scheduled cargo services in the country.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation

DGCA is the civil aviation regulatory body responsible for  regulating of air transport services to/from and within India in accordance with the provisions of Aircraft Rules, 1937. The key functions include licensing of pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers; granting certificates of airworthiness; coordination with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), Licensing of aerodromes and air carriers; Safety oversight and surveillance, advising government in matters of air transport including those related to bilateral air services agreements; type certification of aircraft.

Bureau of Civil Aviation Security

This office was originally started as a part of DGCA in the wake of a hijacking in 1970s. Since 1987 Kanishka Tragedy, it is working as an independent organization under Ministry. It lays down standards and measures in respect of security of civil flights. It is the apex body in civil aviation security in India.

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi

This was started in Raebareli, UP to improve the standards of flying and ground training of commercial pilots.

Airports Authority of India

AAI is responsible for building airport infra in India. Its website mentions that it currently manages 115 airports. It collaboration of Canada, AAI has established National Flying Training Institute Private Limited at Gondia in Maharashtra for training of pilots at its Rajiv Gandhi National flying Training Institute (RGNFIT).

Gagan Project

GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system is being jointly developed by ISRO and AAI for providing augmentation service for GPS over the India, Bay of Bengal, South-east Asia and Middle East along with expansion up to Africa. The system with the help of reference and uplink station will provide corrections to the GPS signal in order to improve air traffic management. It is 10 times more precise compared to GPS and radio navigation aids used for precision landing. Presently, GAGAN Payload is already operational through GSAT-8 and GSAT-10 satellites. The 3rd payload will be carried onboard GSAT-15 satellite to be launched October 2015.

Benefits of Gagan

It will make airline operations more efficient by increasing fuel savings, direct routes, ease of search and rescue operations, reduced workload of flight crew and Air Traffic Controllers and cost savings due to withdrawal of ground aids.

Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA)

AERA was established in May, 2009 with the prime objective to create a level playing field and foster healthy competition among all major airports, encourage investment in airport facilities, regulate tariffs of aeronautical services, protection of reasonable interest of users, operate efficient, economic and viable airports at notified airports.

National Aviation Company of India Ltd. (Air India)

Air India and Indian Airlines merger attained its official status on the formation of National Aviation Company of India Ltd. (Air India) in 2007. Post merger the new entity is known as Air India while its mascot is retained as ‘Maharajah’. The new company seven subsidiaries viz. Hotel Corporation of India (HCI), Air India Charters Ltd. (Air India Express), Air India Air Transport Services Ltd, Air India Engineering Services Ltd, Vayudoot Ltd, Airlines Allied Services Ltd. (Alliance Air) and IAL Airport Services Ltd.