Gandhinagar. Gujarat is pulling out all stops to make its aviation sector the last stop for investments.
In the recently concluded assembly session, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of Gujarat has proposed to establish a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at Ankleshwar.
This facility will be developed with a budgetary allocation of Rs 20 crore. Ankleshwar, a prominent industrial area, has been selected for its proximity to Mumbai which provides landing ease to aircrafts coming from the metro. The Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company (GUJSAIL), the nodal agency for developing aviation infrastructure in the state, will be responsible for setting up of the MRO at Ankleshwar.
While an MRO which already exists at Ahmedabad is equipped to conduct ‘tip to toe ‘maintenance of Legacy Aircrafts and is an authorised servicing facility of Embraer and Bombardier aircrafts. The proposed MRO at Ankleshwar will be able to accommodate two large aircrafts and three small aircrafts. The Ankleshwar MRO will be a Greenfield Airport Project dedicated to MRO and Cargo.
GUJSAIL which operates under the autonomous regulatory body of the State Government, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is coinciding the setting up of MRO at Ankleshwar with that of an airstrip development at the location. Apart from Ankleshwar, GUJSAIL is also setting up airstrips at Palitana, Morbi, Dahej, Rajkot, Dholavira, Ambaji and Dwarka. Keeping the religious tourism in mind, the Government aims to prioritise the airstrip development at Ambaji, Palitana and Dwarka- well known places of religious importance.
In a first-of-its-kind, GUJSAIL will also establish an Airborne Law Enforcement (ALE) division for policing activities in the State. The ALE will comprise of a fleet of helicopters equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) cameras and night vision goggles making them capable of conducting effective day or night surveillance.
On the anvil is also a Centre of Excellence (CoE) to provide for the human resources need of the aviation sector in the State. Siemens has been roped in to supply the hardware and software needs of the CoE. The CoE will be providing courses of excellence in aerospace engineering and contemporary aviation systems.
Land has been identified at Bagodara village, situated at a distance of 30 km from Ahmedabad, for the development of an Aviation Park by GUJSAIL. The park will resemble a complete eco-system where everything related to the aviation sector is available under one roof. The aviation park complex will harbour a flight simulator, an aviation and aerospace management school, aircrew training school, helipad and landing strip for smaller aircrafts. The first phase of the park is slated to get operational by the end of Fiscal Year 2016-2017.
The State government has also announced the reduction of tax on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) in a bid to reduce the burden on carriers. The State Sales Tax on ATF will be waived off for regional carriers operating on intra-state levels, chartered air-taxi/heli-taxi operations within the state and on sorties undertaken for training and aero-sports. Further, it will also be waiving off the navigation, parking and landing charges for these carriers. For boosting participation of private entities in setting up intra-state airlines, the State Government will be ensuring booking of limited seats.
Gujarat has already announced the setting up of a single window clearance system for all permissions and approvals under the state government purview for all aviation related activities in the State. The state will also be providing a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) on a case-to-case basis to airport development projects (both passenger and cargo or mix) with low traffic potential. A cost subsidy of 10 per cent will be given to airworthy models to be set up within the proposed aviation park.