Regulator for aviation industry deferred

May 5th, 2008 - 9:17 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Owing to pressures from the aviation industry, the central government has once again deferred decision on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) Bill, 2007, which was scheduled to come up for approval in parliament during the budget session, sources said Monday. The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die Monday while the Rajya Sabha will be adjourned Tuesday. Both houses were scheduled to run till May 9.

Last month, joint secretary in the civil aviation ministry K.N. Srivastava told reporters that the AERA Bill that seeks to set up an independent regulator for the aviation sector would be approved by parliament during the budget session and take effect by October this year.

The proposed regulator would fix, review and approve tariff structure for the aviation services and monitor performance standards at Indian airports.

“The airline industry is booming. There are major expansion plans and once if you have a regulator in place, there will be lesser room for promoters to influence the process. This is why the industry is opposed to a regulator,” said an official.

The regulator, once in place, will ensure a level playing field for all categories of airport operators and also oversee and deal with monopoly and common user carrier segments of airports, he said.

The bill is currently with the parliamentary standing committee on aviation, which is yet to suggest necessary changes. The bill will go to the cabinet only after the committee makes the relevant changes.

Subsequently, the law ministry will incorporate the changes and the bill will then be presented in parliament. This entire process will take around six months, according to aviation officials.

However, given the current situation, it is unlikely that the regulator would come into being this year, said officials.

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