Forward movement for Indian aviation industry in 2013

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Boeing 787 Dreamliners Boeing 787 Dreamliners
SummaryCurrently, airlines which have operated on domestic routes for five years and have 20 aircraft can fly abroad.

with its revenues showing a positive trend, improvements in passenger traffic and marginal reductions in costs, primarily due to hedging of aviation turbine fuel, inducting the Dreamliners on sale-leaseback basis and selling off five Boeing 777s to Etihad.

Paving the way for Air India's entry into the largest global airlines' grouping, Star Alliance unanimously decided to recommence the integration process that was suspended in 2011. Air India was originally accepted as a future member of Star Alliance in December 2007.

While Kingfisher formally closed shop with its flying licence suspended in January leaving many of its unpaid employees in the lurch, the industry saw some signs of improvement in other carriers' financial bottomlines, though most of them still suffered heavy losses.

No-frill carrier IndiGo was the only carrier which defied market dynamics to announce a hefty profit of over Rs 900 crore.

Tenures of officials holding crucial positions in the Civil Aviation Ministry came to an end this year, with the retirement of Secretary K N Srivastava and DGCA chief Arun Mishra being appointed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as its Asia-Pacific head.

A question mark also remained over the appointment of a new AAI Chairman, with incumbent V P Agrawal's tenure ending this month.

The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) remained stabilised at a high level, accounting for 45-50 per cent of Indian carriers' total costs, compared to 30 per cent for major global airlines.

The Civil Aviation Ministry stepped in to urge all state governments to lower the taxes on ATF by arguing that lesser the price of fuel, more flights get attracted to the states and therefore, more economic activity and job creation which would be beneficial for the states.

The argument had its impact and some states like Odisha and West Bengal slashed taxes and experienced almost immediate promises by airlines to enhance the number of flights being operated to these states.

Giving a big boost to air connectivity in Tier-II and III cities, government cleared a wide-ranging policy aimed at creating international and regional aviation hubs in the country. An Inter-Ministerial Committee was also set up to ensure establishment of facilities like immigration, customs, provisions for visa-on-arrival and foreign exchange, involving various Ministries.

Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director of Bird Group and CII's aviation panel chairman, told PTI that the Indian aviation industry has felt the brunt of aggressive price cuts, rising costs, growing jet fuel price, depreciating rupee value and high interest

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