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Foundation for aviation and sustainable tourism (FAST)

Lighting the Lamp Ceremony : (left to right) Anuj Aggarwal, Member HR, AAI, Shri VP Agrawal, Vice President – FAST and former Chairman, AAI; Vinod Zushti, former secretary, Ministry of Tourism; Ms. Ush Padhee, Joint Secretary, MOCA and the Chief Guest of the Seminar; Shri Raman Sidhu, Chairman, EGB Federation’s India and Lt General KM Seth, former governor of Tripura and Chhattisgarh and the President FAST.

The foundation for aviation and sustainable tourism (FAST), under the aegis of the Ministry of civil aviation, brought together the best minds from the sector under one roof to discuss several pertinent issues a seminar in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The seminar, titled Emerging challenges in aviation; infrastructure, capacity building and seamless travel, began with Lt General KM Seth, former governor of Tripura and Chhattisgarh and also the president FAST delivering the welcome address. The chief guest for the seminar Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of civil aviation, addressed the gathering and shared her insights on the current status of civil aviation and briefly listed out steps the government is taking to further boost the sector.

“I am privileged to be here at this seminar. Indian aviation since the last few years has been growing in the double digits and we are the third-largest domestic market and will soon become the third-biggest market overall. The number of fleets is going to be increased,”said Padhee.

She told the stakeholders gathered at the venue that the current economic slump was temporary and India would soon bounce back. “The airlines may not be showing a profit at the moment but they are growing and the net worth has been increasing. We have lot many airports coming and in and passenger numbers are growing. We are heading towards a five trillion economy and will certainly boost the aviation sector,” she added.

The seminar was broadly divided into two sessions. Session one dealt with topics such as Traffic projection and economy outlook, infrastructure, the role of air cargo in the economy and investment through public-private participation.  In the following session, issues such as opportunities in MRO, airlines crisis, air space navigation and technology building were addressed.

The seminar was successful in engaging various stakeholders, who actively engage with the government and track the industry,  in a constructive dialogue. The experts did not shy away from taking on tough topics such as the economic slowdown and the falling of big players in the domestic market. Almost every speaker touched on the topic of India having the potential to become one of the biggest markets and is capable of overtaking the likes of France and the UK, provided certain areas are ironed out. Taxing, regularisation and improving ease of business were just a few areas the speakers focused on.

The finest industry experts with nuanced knowledge about the industry were roped in to share their views on their area of expertise. The experts panel included; AG Joshi, Executive Director (Arch), AAI, Jodhbir Singh, head of Asia Aviation Associates, KPMG, Dinesh Kumar, MD Asia Aviation, Tara Naidu, chief of commercial, Air India Express, Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Pulak Sen, Founder, MRO Association of India and head of Aerospace and Defence, V. Somasundaram, former member(ANS) – AAI and Gp Captain Rk Bali, MD Business Airlines Operators Association.

The morning address too had esteemed dignitaries addressing the audience. The likes of Anuj Aggarwal, Member HR, AAI, K Narayana Rao, Deputy MD of GMR, Raman Sidhu, chairman, EGB Federation’s India spokesperson and Vinod Zushti, former secretary, Ministry of Tourism set the tone for the seminar in the first half with insightful and crisp speeches.