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Domestic air traffic showing signs of recovery post-9/11

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DOMESTIC air traffic is showing signs of recovery this year after the 9/11 setback and is slated for a healthy growth, according to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Indian air operators and the sector has shown a growth rate of six per cent, said Mr K. Roy Paul, Secretary, Civil Aviation, said at the inauguration of the three-day EU-India Aero Technologies Summit here on Tuesday. The Joint Secretary, Civil Aviation, Mr Anurag Goel, read out his speech.

Indian air traffic started growing in 1999 by three per cent, but during 2001-02, fell from 14 million to 13 million. Cargo traffic accounts for 5,60 000 tonnes on the international and 2,94,000 tonnes of domestic front in 2001-02.

For the long term, the International Civil Aviation organisation (ICAO) too has forecast for India an average annual growth rate of seven per cent up to 2015, compared to 5.6 per cent for Europe and 6.8 per cent for South East Asia. In the last decade, the Asia-Pacific region has shown the highest growth rate of 7.9 per cent compared to the world average of 4.8 per cent. Post 9/11, international passenger growth rate during 2001-05 has been scaled down from 4.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent, though APAC will continue to lead at seven per cent up to 2010, he said.

The Centre is proposing an independent Airports Economic Regulatory Authority for limited economic regulation of airports, especially for the private ones that are coming up.

For the period of December 2002 - March 2003, it has announced a unilateral `limited open sky' for West European and US carriers. These carriers are free to run any number of services of upgraded aircraft during the period.

Mr Goel said the EU-India project, launched in February 2001, is one of the most significant ones in the field.

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