Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Saturday said the government is mulling over increasing the number of cargo and freight carriers as improved cargo movement will benefit farmers. Raju said Airport Authorities of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Ltd (AAICLAS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of AAI, has been drawing strategies focused on developing the segment that would take the local produce of farmer to international destinations.
“There is a good demand for temperature-sensitive goods globally, our country has a plenty of local produce to offer. Air cargo will play an important role here… if farmers produce quality products, transport should not become a bottleneck,” Raju said.
Raju added that in India, civil aviation activity has been mostly limited to passenger segment. “In India, the movement of cargo through airlines is hardly existing because you have only two airlines and three aircrafts as compared to hundreds of aircrafts in other countries. We need to develop it and the government sees it as an opportunity to double the income of farmers,” he said.
He said that business groups have to see an opportunity in the cargo sector and the Centre will be looking at narrowing the ‘dwell-time’ such as customs and clearance in the airport for goods.
“Naturally, the general concern is obtaining clearance at the airport. If the dwell-time in the airport is more than 72 hours, the perishable goods will have to be discarded. We are working on those areas to streamline the transaction process, at the same time encouraging businesses to take up interest in promoting the interest of the farming community,” he said.
“This fiscal, the ministry is expecting growth in aviation sector to be more than 20 per cent. We are the largest growing country in the world now in aviation sector. We are concentrating on rural connectivity. New destinations will come as part of our UDAN initiatives,” Raju added.
‘Centre working on inflight Wi-Fi request’
Civil aviation minister Gajapati Raju on Saturday said that Centre is working on the amendment of the Telegraph Act, that would facilitate commercial aircraft to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services.
While the minister did not specify any particular timeline for the rollout of the services, he said that the technical teams from civil aviation and telecom department are contacting their counterparts in other countries to address the security concern.
“We are working on the amendment of the particular legislation, after which aircrafts both overflying and those taking off from India would be able to provide the services to their passengers,” Raju added.
As per the protocol, the minister said that even international flights at present flying over the Indian airspace discontinue the Wi-Fi service on-board while operating in the region.