New Delhi: The government is in the process of setting up a powerful Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for better regulation of the aviation sector. According to government sources a draft bill is in an advanced stage of vetting and should soon receive official clearance.
"A draft legislation has been prepared. It is currently being vetted by the law ministry. After this, it will be taken up by the Union Cabinet for approval before it is placed in Parliament," the sources said here.
The functions and powers of the proposed CAA, which would supersede the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), have been modelled primarily on its UK counterpart.
The proposed body will be provided financial and administrative autonomy and will be able to take expeditious decisions on matters relating to a range of activities - from regulation of air traffic services and licensing to ensure financial fitness of airlines, sources said.
The CAA is due to come up at a time when the country's total aircraft fleet now stands at about 440 and is estimated to cross 1,000 in a few years. In addition, there are over 200 helicopters and private jets.
The passenger handling capacity of Indian airports, which was just 66 million in 2005, has reached 225 million now and is expected to cross 500 million in the next 10 years.
In this backdrop, the CAA would take over the responsibilities of the DGCA in areas like air safety, airspace regulation, setting aviation standards, licensing of airlines, pilots, air traffic controllers and consumer protection, the sources said.
The Civil Aviation Ministry is also proposing to provide certain economic regulatory functions to the new authority, including airfares and areas like consumer protection, environmental research and consultancy.