India invites foreign investment in cargo development

Thursday, 23 November 2006, 06:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: India is keen to invite foreign investment and expertise in the fields of cargo development, non-scheduled operations and helicopter operations in the aviation sector, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said Thursday.

"Cargo development in Indian aviation sector has huge potential for foreign players. India at present has only five to seven cargo planes," Patel said while inaugurating the first EU-India aviation summit here.

"The domestic market of air cargo is itself so big in India that it can help in sustaining the operations," he added.

Overall, the growth rate of the aviation sector in the next 10 years would not be less than 25 percent. This implied huge opportunity for foreign and private players in airport infrastructure, communication, air traffic management and other fields, the minister added.

Earlier, addressing the summit, European Commission's Vice President Jacques Barrot said EU and India were deliberating on a "horizontal" aviation agreement.

The aim of the "horizontal agreement" would be to amend certain provisions in bilateral agreements between India and EU member states so they could be in conformity with a much broader agreement between India and EU, Barrot said.

"India and EU are likely to finalise in 2007 the horizontal agreement and prepare a joint action plan to address key issues in the aviation sector," Barrot said.

He invited India to become associated with major EU technological programmes such as Galileo, the satellite navigation programme, and Sesar, the air traffic management project.

"India is also looking forward to adopt the satellite navigation programme for better air traffic management. We would like to take the benefit of EU's experience in this and other aviation related fields," Patel said.

Source: IANS
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