Answering to the questions of Mr Rajiv Shukla (Congress), Shobhana Bhartiya (Independent) and Vijay Darda (Congress), Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel said the main features of the agreement included providing technical and managerial expertise in developing, improving, and operations of civil aviation infrastructure, standards, procedures, policies, training and equipment.
There would be cooperation in range of aviation safety areas, providing training for civil aviation equipment and air navigation facility, besides assistance in aircraft certification in India and assistance in the field of helicopter operation safety initiative.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has called for global tenders for an Inline X-Ray Baggage Inspection System (In-Line XBIS) for Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Calicut and Srinagar airports for better baggage screening, Rajya Sabha was told.
Answering questions of Ms S G Indira (AIADMK), Mr Patel said in his written replies that the screening of hold baggage was done before the check-in because of the limitation in space at the concourse and consequent ability of aligning the check in counters with X-ray baggage inspection systems.
He said a limited relaxation had been given to the restrictions imposed regarding the carrying liquid products by passengers without jeopardising security. The restrictions were imposed following the terror alert in the United Kingdom where the militant organisations had devised a new modus operandi to smuggle components of an improvised explosive devise.
Under the relaxed conditions passengers can carry liquid items, gel and pastes but each item should not exceed 100 ml in quantity after prescribed screening.
About a question of acute shortage of trained pilots in the industry, the minister said keeping the present trend of growth in the civil aviation sector, it was estimated that 2000 to 3000 pilots would be needed in the next two to three years. The Government was planning to simplify the examination procedures without diluting the eligibility requirements essential for safety of aviation operations. He also maintained that the Indian Airlines had sufficient number of pilots to cater to present requirement.
He said in the affirmative to a related question if the government had taken a decision to set up a state of art pilot training school in Gondia district in Maharashtra. The ministry had short listed seven bidders for a suitable joint venture.
To a question if the government was planning to exempt the regional airlines from airport and navigation cess in the first five years of operation, the minister merely said the proposals to promote regional connectivity was under the consideration of government as part of the New Draft Civil Aviation Policy.