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Bill To Replace Aviation Regulator DGCA Soon

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Government plans to introduce a bill to replace aviation regulator DGCA with a more autonomous body in the winter session of Parliament as part of a host of measures to meet fresh challenges in the aviation sector.

Among the measures being considered by the civil aviation ministry is auctioning of some prime-time flying slots to end the opaqueness in their allocation by airport operators.

The ministry plans to table in the winter session, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Bill to replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to make CAA an autonomous body with more powers, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said here.

"We will be coming up with a new computerised system of slot allotment at airports, which is presently alloted to airlines by the airports. There is no transparency in it. We are also mulling to auction some prime slots," he told reporters.

Some airlines could lose some slots, like those allocated to them but were not being operated, he said.

Route Dispersal Guidelines, under which an airline is bound to operate to socially-important but financially unviable routes in the Northeast and Kashmir, would be amended to ensure that carriers operate to small cities.

A review of the aircraft acquisition policy was also being undertaken to enhance regional connectivity, he said, adding that many airlines preferred to have a single type of aircraft and ply to metro cities only.

"Airlines will have to have different types of aircraft to connect to Tier-III and Tier-IV cities," he said, adding effort would be to ensure that airlines buy smaller planes like turboprop ATRs or small jets to fly to airports having shorter runways.

In order to make airlines fly to such destinations, the new policy measures would focus on upping connectivity to regional cities through a successful 'hub-and-spoke' system.