The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for government and industry to join forces on a series of projects to enhance safety, security and efficiency in India. These would align with IATA’s longstanding calls for improved infrastructure, cost reduction and a relief from excessive taxation.
“I propose a series of projects to enhance the safety, security and efficiency of Indian aviation. The interests of government and industry are aligned. Aviation and aviation-related tourism drives 1.5% of India’s GDP and supports jobs for 1.8% of the workforce. A stronger aviation sector will be a catalyst for even wider economic benefits,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, in his keynote address at the inaugural India Aviation Day which IATA is jointly organizing with the GMR Group and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“This is my third major speech on Indian aviation issues in under a year. I have not spoken this much in or about any other single country in my time at IATA. The reason is two-fold. The first is that India is the great potential market of the future, and the industry here has only just begun to realize its enormous promise. The second is that if we are to realize that future, we must successfully overcome some major issues,” said Tyler.
IATA called for government and industry to work together in the following areas:
- Safety: Safety is the industry’s number one priority. The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is a global standard that is improving safety. In 2012, the all accidents safety performance of airlines on the IOSA registry was 77% better than for those not on the registry. Moreover, there were no hull-losses with Western-built jet aircraft in 2012 among the 384 airlines on the registry.
As India moves to evolve the DGCA into a Civil Aviation Authority in compliance with global standards, Tyler urged India to take full advantage of the IOSA and the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO).
“The establishment of the CAA is a step in the right direction. But we must recognize that there is some way to go in terms of capacity building and skills set development. The industry can help. As India turns a new page in its safety regulation, I urge the incoming CAA to consider incorporating the 900+ IOSA standards into India’s safety oversight framework for airlines. And ISAGO will be valuable tool for enhancing safety on the ground,” said Tyler.
- Security: Tyler urged India to be a strong player in Secure Freight and the Checkpoint of the Future. “It would be great if India commits to be an early mover on these programs. But before that can happen, India needs to address the non-standard advance passenger information (API) that it requires airlines to transmit. Since, 2008, we have had promises that India will bring its non-standard requirements in line with the standards that it helped to establish as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council. It is time to deliver the result,” said Tyler.
Tyler also called on India to review its ground handling policy. “Airlines are subject to discrimination between how security functions are handled by domestic airlines versus international carriers. Airlines are denied the right to self-handle. And there is deep policy confusion due to different interpretations of the multiple government notifications and concessions awarded by airports. It is time to take a fresh look at the whole issue,” said Tyler.
- E-freight: Tyler urged India to urgently modernize cargo processes. The industry has set a target of 100% conversion to the e-Air Waybill for cargo by 2015 as a step towards e-freight implementation.
“It is incredible that in this Internet age of instantaneous information, we are still using largely paper-based processes to move cargo in India. It is even more incredible given India’s tremendous IT experience and skills,” said Tyler.
India has ratified both the Montreal Convention 1999, which recognizes electronic invoicing, and the Kyoto Convention 2005, which has recommendations for paperless e-Customs procedure. “While India Customs has agreed in principle to creating a paperless environment, progress on moving to proof of concept and implementation is slow. We need a show of political will to kick-start the process. IATA is ready and willing to provide resources to move forward, but we need the commitment of authorities at the highest level to support the implementation of e-freight,” said Tyler.
In addition, Tyler urged India to play a key role in moving the debate on managing aviation’s emissions—specifically on market-based-measures—towards a global agreement through ICAO. Tyler praised India for its leadership in the opposition to Europe’s intention to include international aviation in its emissions trading scheme—and extra-territorial and unilateral action.
“Now India should follow up on the important role it played in steering Europe towards ICAO for a global solution by being a strong leader among the BASIC countries with a genuine effort to make the ICAO process work,” said Tyler.
“The stakes for India in the climate change debate are high. And it is a persistent defender of the Common but Differentiated Responsibility principle which accommodates developed and developing nation needs within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. But there is good reason for ICAO having the responsibility for aviation’s international emissions. ICAO has a successful track record of facilitating global agreements and standards which take into account the needs of developed and developing nations—even on difficult issues such as noise,” said Tyler.