Gujarat Beckons Investments in Aviation

The state of Gujarat has been a progressive one. It is taking active steps to develop all sectors, including aviation. The Director of Civil Aviation, Government of Gujarat, Captain Ajay Chauhan explains the steps the state is taking to network intra and inter-state.

By SP's AirBuz team

SP's AirBuz (SP's): How can the state civil aviation department help in the overall development of aviation in India?

Captain Ajay Chauhan (Chauhan): The Civil Aviation Department of respective states can be a part of national development, if all work towards the objectives mentioned below:

  • Develop world-class aviation infrastructure with passenger comfort, efficient cargo handling and facilities for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).
  • Operationalisation of Airports Economic Regulatory Authority.
  • Establishing an adequately resourced and effective state safety oversight system operating above the international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for safe, orderly and sustainable air transport with acceptable level of safety (ALOS) for scheduled, non-scheduled, general aviation and helicopter operations.
  • Protection of passenger rights in case of delays, cancellations and overbooking.
  • Enforcement of security regulations in terms of internationally accepted standards.
  • Better domestic and international connectivity.
  • Rapid development of helicopter operations.
  • Use of advanced information technologies for enhanced efficiency and transparency.

SP's: What steps can be undertaken to develop coordination between state civil aviation departments and the Ministry of Civil Aviation?

Chauhan: The civil aviation department has taken initiatives by creating special scheme called "single window clearance" for routing all the file/correspondence under one channel for taking all the necessary clearance from the respective authorities. In the Ministry of Civil Aviation, there should be representative of every state aviation department for quick and transparent decision making.

SP's: What are the factors that determine setting up of civil aviation department is respective states?

Chauhan: The state of Gujarat has a total of 17 airports of which nine are under operational jurisdiction of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), three with the Indian Air Force of which two have civil terminal, two airports are private and two are in the Union Territory of Daman and Diu which do not form part of Gujarat but are used frequently by the people of Gujarat. There needs coordination to develop and sustain them.

SP's: What are the challenges before you as the Director of Civil Aviation?

Chauhan: For enabling us to achieve or comply with the requirement of civil aviation authorities, it is essential to set the guidelines clearly and specifically, especially when it comes to planning and implementation of the mandatory amendments which are always time bound.

SP's: How much has the Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Ltd (GUJSAIL) achieved in its mission?

Chauhan: GUJSAIL is governed by the Government of Gujarat with an aim to boost the aviation sector in the state. GUJSAIL has plan and systematic approach for diversifying the aviation sector to the next level by bringing in new investors to the state.

SP's: How do you project the development of GUJSAIL in next 10 years?

Chauhan: GUJSAIL has planned to implement aero sports, intra-state connectivity, MRO development, disaster and rescue operation and a training academy, etc. GUJSAIL is planning to develop, only one of its kind, an "Aviation Park".

SP's: There are many projects which are outlined in the GUJSAIL policy but yet to be implemented. What are the main reasons for the delay in its execution?

Chauhan: Airport projects are capital intensive with long gestation periods. There are issues of land acquisition, environment clearance, funding, complex jurisdiction boundary issues, etc, which cannot be done in a hurry. Therefore, after the framing of any policy and necessary approval, it takes a while for the actual implementation.

SP's: What are the developments you have undertaken?

Chauhan: I took over in 2004 and since then have set up GUJSAIL to facilitate the infrastructure needs of companies and airline operators coming to Gujarat. I have facilitated construction of helipads in all the districts of Gujarat; Constructed a new helipad at Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad; purchased refuelling bowzer-cum-weather station; tied up with IndiGo to offer special fares to government officials; acquired land for 11 airstrips, etc.

SP's: How do you differentiate Gujarat with other states of India in terms of implementing policies for civil aviation?

Chauhan: Gujarat continues to outpace growth in other states of India. The state has incorporated "single window clearance" system for taking necessary clearances. Our government has a positive approach towards any new development and always supported our foundation.

SP's: What message you would like to share with young pilots/aviators?

Chauhan: Being a pilot, I would like our young pilots to recall a famous saying "A pilot lives in a world of perfection or not at all", which implies that pilots are supposed to be perfect in the aviation field. Aviation always delivers the biggest thrills. I would like to tell the new breed of pilots that they should remain passionate about flying and take guidance from their families, close friends, especially from senior and experienced persons from the aviation sector.