Tumultuous year for Indian aviation

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It was not a smooth sailing for the Indian aviation industry in 2012. (Reuters) It was not a smooth sailing for the Indian aviation industry in 2012. (Reuters)
SummaryIt was not a smooth sailing for the Indian aviation industry in 2012.

limited operations from 2013. But it can do so only 6-8 weeks after DGCA allows it to fly again due to refresher training and medical tests of its crew.

The problems which led to the closure of Kingfisher Airlines cannot be seen as teething troubles or natural pains of an emerging sunrise sector but were more systemic in nature, industry sources said while referring to other carriers which suffered losses but carried on flying.

High taxes on jet fuel was a major concern for the entire industry which led the government to allow the carriers to directly import the item. But problems of infrastructure like storage and transportation of jet fuel to airports, which are controlled by the oil marketing firms, remained to be solved.

To check high fares, government decided to do away with the airport development fee being charged from passengers coming to and going out of Delhi and Mumbai airports from January and asking Airports Authority of India not to charge it at Kolkata and Chennai airports being developed by it.

The AAI was also asked to infuse more equity in the joint ventures operating the Delhi and Mumbai airports.

Air India also inducted the first few of the 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and put them into service in select domestic and international routes.

With these next-generation planes, the national carrier announced launching of new flights in its bid to expand its route network and resuming closed down domestic services, aiming to corner more passenger traffic.

A series of initiatives in this regard saw improvements in its passenger loads, revenues and some stemming of its losses.

The government also decided to hive off Air India's engineering and ground handling services into two wholly-owned subsidiaries.

The long-awaited integration of staff of the two erstwhile carriers (Indian Airlines and Air India) finally took shape after five years of their merger, with the implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee.

Playing a pro-active role, government also considerably opened up the air services agreements (ASAs) with other countries, allowing all Indian airlines to take advantage of it and mount more international flights.

The Civil Aviation Ministry led by RLD chief Ajit Singh saw a new post of Minister of State being created and taken over by an important Congress leader from Kerala, K C Venugopal.

It also witnessed a change of guards among its top officials, with senior

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