Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman
Airports Authority of India
The Airports Authority of India has been working towards making its facilities world class by upgrading its infrastructure, taking green initiatives, working internationally and ‘training all’. The authority has been involved in a host of projects and new initiatives in order to refine its services and its airports’ quality. Here is what the authority’s Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra has to share.
AAI has undergone a complete overhaul in the last few years. How has this made the organisation more efficient and ambitious?
AAI has carried out the modernisation of two metro airports at Chennai and Kolkata as well as 35 non-metro airports in the last 10 years. In addition to that, 23 small airports have also been developed and upgraded along with modernisation of Air Navigation Services (ANS). In order to provide seamless monitoring of air traffic over Indian airspace and enhancing air safety of passengers, AAI has inducted new technologies like Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) at 21 airports, Advance Surface Movement and Guidance & Control System (ASMGCS) at five airports to enhance surveillance capability at airports and near vicinity in addition to RADARs, Instrument Landing System (ILS), DVOR, and DMEs etc. Apart from this, GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN), Central Air Traffic Flow Management (CATFM) and automation systems for air traffic control have been put in place.
What are the key focus areas for 2017-18?
One of our key focus areas is augmentation of airport capacity. Presently, the passenger handling capacity of our terminal buildings put together is approximately 250 million passengers per annum against the present demand of 190 million passengers. However, considering the overall growth, this will not be enough to meet the demand in near future. So, our top priority is to quickly augment the capacity in air space and the airports both at air side and city side. The road map and the action plan for development of airport and ANS infrastructure are in place. Consultants have been engaged or are being finalised for project management, preparation of techno economic feasibility reports, city side development and landscaping works. Efforts are also being made to engage in development of new airports on SPV model where the state government also joins hands in developing airport infrastructure.
Further, to enhance the airspace capacity and increasing safety, upper airspace harmonisation has been implemented in Chennai and Kolkata airspace and is under implementation at Delhi and shall be extended to Mumbai subsequently. The enhanced capacity will provide further benefits in terms of reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emission thus saving flight costs and reducing global warming.
For improvement in service quality through the initiatives already undertaken and financial viability of airports at Tier II and Tier III cities is also being looked at. For this, AAI has plans to improve the non-aeronautical revenue through commercial activities in terminal and city side. AAI is also strengthening marketing activities for facilitating airlines to take up operations at these airports.
AAI has also adopted sustainable development through green initiatives like establishment of Central Air Traffic Flow Management (CATFM), implementation of RNAV – ATS routes, implementation of approach procedures with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) such as Baro-V, GAGAN based LPV procedures to provide better all-weather access to airports, thereby bringing down the instances of diversion that lead to fuel burn. Use of solar green energy is being encouraged. Several solar power plants have been operationalised. Rooftop solar power plants with 6.8 MW capacity and 19.8 MW ground mounted solar power plants are in progress. There are plans for replacement of all internal and external lightings at 15 airports with LED lights in this financial year. In addition airfield lighting systems being installed are based on LED.
Modernisation of airports and adding more airports is one of the key agendas of the government and AAI. What are your targets for 2017-18?
There is a capital expenditure outlay of INR175 billion for five years upto 2020-21. New terminal buildings have been planned at Agartala, Guwahati, Vijayawada, Leh, Gorakhpur, Patna, Bihta, Trichy and Imphal to directly augment passenger capacity. Prime Minister has announced a special package of INR 27 billion for Bihar in 2015 for development of airports in Patna (New), Gaya, Raxaul and Purnea. Also, plans are there to increase the capacity of existing terminal buildings at Chennai, Srinagar, Pune, Lucknow, Mangalore, Dehradun and Jaipur. Work is in progress in Jammu, Kishangarh and another seven airport terminals are under construction and will be commissioned in the next two years viz. Belgaum, Hubli, Vijayawada, Tezu, Calicut, Jharsuguda, Port Blair and Gorakhpur. AAI is also constructing a Greenfield airport in Pakyong (Sikkim) which is expected to be operationalised by September, 2017.
New civil enclaves are planned at five Defence airports where civil enclave already exists viz. Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Bagdogra and Jammu and to provide civil air connectivity, three new civil enclave will be established at Bareilly, Adampur and Purnea.
How has the push to increase regional connectivity worked? What are the challenges in this?
AAI visualises many challenges to make Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) a successful one. Currently around 75 out of 450 airstrips/airports (owned by AAI, Defence, state government, private operators and other agencies) have scheduled operations. Revival of the air strips and airports will be ‘demand driven’, depending on firm demand from airline operators. Unserved airports will be operationalised at an indicative cost of INR 0.5 billion to INR 1 billion. Also, 51 airports which are ready for operation with no expenditure or expenditure around INR 50 million, have been identified. Other airports may be operationalised by making expenditure upto INR 1 billion. The Government of India (GoI) has planned to develop 50 unserved airports with expenditure of INR 46.5 billion to create infrastructure in three years. AAI will coordinate with concerned state governments to provide free services of security and fire services, water and electricity at concessional rates and to identify and acquire minimum land, if required for operation of RCS flights. AAI has to deploy optimum staff and equipment at unserved airports.
Is AAI planning to look at markets outside India?
With a vast pool of aviation infrastructure experts, professional and skilled manpower, experience in operation and management of airports in the country, we definitely intend to leverage this capability to venture into international arena. Recent development and modernisation of airports undertaken by AAI including those at Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, Jaipur and Chandigarh showcase to the world, what AAI can deliver. We have in past delivered assignments like procedure design and flight calibration of navigational facilities in quite a number of countries in field of ANS. To strengthen this activity, AAI has created a dedicated Business Development Directorate to tap international markets.
Are you looking at collaborations with foreign players?
If so, in which segment? AAI collaborates with many foreign players and there are several MoUs in place for sharing best practices, experiences, technology and training. The GoI with USTDA (US Trade Development Authority) has a MoU with MITRE, for technical and managerial assistance in development of a technical R&D centre in ANS activities. AAI is also organising Air Navigation Service Provider Management Advanced Master Programme at Hyderabad which is a joint project between Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC), French National Aviation University affiliate of DGAC, French Civil Aviation Authority and CATC, AAI. Every year 50 officers will be trained under this programme. AAI is a member of Airports Council International, an independent body of worldwide airports, which represents airports interests with governments and international organisations such as the ICAO, develops standards, policies and recommended practices for airports, and provides information and training opportunities to raise standards. AAI on behalf of GoI participates in panel meetings and regular taskforce meetings of ICAO to develop Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector. These SARPs and policies are used by ICAO member states to ensure that their local civil aviation operations and regulations conform to global norms, which in turn permits more than 100,000 daily flights in aviation’s global network to operate safely and reliably in every region of the world. Apart from this GoI has a MoU with several countries to collaborate in various fields of aviation. Under one of the MoU, AAI is imparting training to trainees from Afghanistan on CNS and ATM. In addition, we are also exploring joint marketing cooperation with various international airports to develop direct air connectivity between various cities.
Safety & security remain one of the biggest issues for transport industry around the world. What steps is AAI taking in this regard?
Airport security attempts to prevent any threats or potentially dangerous situations from arising or entering the country. Various agencies like Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCAS), Central Industrial Security force (CISF), Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA), state police, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) etc are involved to prevent any dangerous situation, illegal items or threats entering into an aircraft, country or airport. AAI coordinates with each airport to protect the airport and country from any threatening events thereby contributing towards safety and security of the travelling public.
The regulations at the airports are governed by the specific provisions of ICAO. Within India, BCAS lays down AVSEC norms for security and DGCA for safe air operations. AAI has enabled all the provisions under its domain commensurate with the requirements. AAI has provided latest security equipment, gadgets and infrastructure to the CISF personnel who are dealing with the security function which includes X-Ray baggage machines, door frame metal detectors, hand held metal detectors supported by CCTV at various airports. The intensity of security and provision of equipment is enhanced as per the sensitivity of the airport. AAI has provided explosive trace detectors and inline X-ray baggage system at its airports.
In addition to the security, the safety of the aircraft on ground and in airspace has to be ensured by AAI. The authority has an effective Safety Management System (SMS) implemented at all airports that encompass safety driven implementation process for change, monitor performance through surveillance and safety audits as per global safety standards including ANS provided over entire Indian airspace. ICAO safety reports clearly indicate that India is well above the global average for effectively implementing the safety measures at the airports.
As you expand your activities, what is the skill gap and how are you addressing it?
AAI has established the National Institute of Aviation Training and Management (NIATAM) at Gondia in Maharashtra. The executives of AAI are trained ‘ab initio’ and subsequently trained in advanced courses and refresher courses as a part of continual training and skill upgradation. AAI has also established a CHQ Training Centre at New Delhi, Regional Training Centre’s (RTCs) at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Guwahati and ‘in situ’ training centre’s at major airports. AAI has also signed an MoU with Aviation Strategies International (ASI) which is partnering with ICAO and Airports Council International (ACI) in imparting Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme (AMPAP), which is globally recognised, for greater cooperation in aviation related competency and skill building. Further, AAI has recently engaged McKinsey, to review its organisational structure and address capability building and training programmes.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation engaged ICRA Management Consulting Services Ltd. (IMaCS) to analyse the skill gap in Civil Aviation Sector. The consultant has submitted a comprehensive report “Comprehensive skill gap analysis and future road map for skill development in civil aviation sector.”
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has commenced an expansive and elaborate job of identifying job roles, developing National Occupational Standards (NOS) through various sector skill councils including the Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council (AASSC) and aligning all training to the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). Also, AAI nominates its executives for various management programmes conducted by premier institutes in India and has embraced a training philosophy of ‘Train All’.