Multiple options on table for hiving off ANS: Ashok Chawla

By: | Published: July 3, 2016 2:06 PM

Multiple options will be explored to carve out Air Navigation Services (ANS) from national airports operator Airport Authority of India, government-appointed expert panel head...

Ashok Chawla is head of the two-member committee set up by the Civil Aviation Ministry to suggest ways on whether to spin off ANS as a separate entity. (Representative Image: IE)Ashok Chawla is head of the two-member committee set up by the Civil Aviation Ministry to suggest ways on whether to spin off ANS as a separate entity. (Representative Image: IE)

Multiple options will be explored to carve out Air Navigation Services (ANS) from national airports operator Airport Authority of India, government-appointed expert panel head and former Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Chawla has said.

Ashok Chawla is head of the two-member committee set up by the Civil Aviation Ministry to suggest ways on whether to spin off ANS as a separate entity. The other member is former DGCA chief Satinder Singh.

The panel, set up in June, is expected to finalise its report in three months.

While the idea to make ANS a separate and independent unit was mooted in 1970s, there has not been much movement forward despite some detailed studies in this regard.

“The panel will re-apprise the need for separating Air Navigation Services (ANS) from the Airports Authority of India. The committee will re-examine this in the Indian context and whether we need to go down this route at this stage,” Chawla told PTI in an interview.

He said various options such as “whether the new entity should be an autonomous organisation or a corporate entity wholly-owned by the government or a subsidiary of AAI,” would be explored.

A separate ANS would help provide full attention to this crucial segment of the aviation sector as well as help improve the overall communication network surveillance and air traffic management.

Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) services, which provides infrastructure, as well as Air Traffic Management (ATM), which coordinates the traffic, comes under AAI.

Over a third of the AAI’s total revenue comes from ANS services.

Noting that the plan was considered on a number of occasions in the past, Chawla said the panel has just started examining these issues.

“The government has given us a time of three months and given the fact that a lot of work has already been done in the past, I think we should be in a position to finalise our views and present them to the government within this time,” he said.

According to him, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) does not have any “prescriptive model on the structure of ownership” with respect to ANS except that it should be retained by the government.

The committee would examine “afresh the necessity to hive off ANS from AAI” after taking into consideration various factors including organisation structure and reports of the earlier panels set up in this regard, as per a notification issued on June 13.

Suggestions from the stakeholders have also been sought by the Chawla committee till July 31.

About the new civil aviation policy, Chawla said it is basically talking about the way government wants the delivery of the services to be to the external stakeholders.

“The policy has not focused, rightly so I think, on internal organisational issues of AAI, Air India. These issues that can be handled separately and these are not issues which in a major way impact the public domain,” he added.

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