Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – All You Need to Know

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Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was recently passed by Rajya Sabha,
to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934. The bill was passed by a voice vote. Earlier, the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 17 March 2020. The bill was introduced by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in the House.

The Three Regulatory Bodies

The three authorities will be headed by a Director-General, who will be appointed by the central government. The directions to these authorities on concerned matters will also be issued by the Central Government. 

1. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

2. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)

3. Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB)

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

DGCA is a statutory body formed under the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020. This body will carry out regulatory and safety oversight functions concerning matters under the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020. 

Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)

BCAS will carry out regulatory oversight functions related to civil aviation security. It is headed by Director-General of Security (Civil Aviation), who is an officer of the rank of Director General of Police, who will be responsible for the National Civil Aviation Security Programme’s implementation, development, and maintenance.

Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB)

AIIB will carry out investigations related to aircraft incidents and accidents in India. Earlier, the investigations were conducted by the DGCA.

Key Features of the Bill

  • The Bill amends the Aircraft Act, 1934, which regulates the manufacture, operation, possession, use, sale, export and import of civil aircraft, as well as the licensing of aerodromes.
  • The Bill grants statutory status to regulatory institutions including
    the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
  • The bill seeks to convert three aviation regulatory bodies into statutory bodies under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), including the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB). Each of these statutory bodies will be headed by a Director-General who will be appointed by the Central government.
  • The statutory status is given in order to improve the aviation safety ranking of the country.
  • The Bill authorises the central government to cancel the certificates, licences, or approvals granted to an individual under the Act if the individual does not go by any provision of the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  • The Bill has proposed to raise the fine for violations of rules to
    Rs 1 crore, the fine earlier was Rs 10 lakh, for aviation industry players.
  • The bill also provides for keeping aircraft belonging to the armed force of the country, outside the purview of the Aircraft Act, 1934 and proposed to increase fine for violations new rules from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
  • The proposed amendments seek to fulfil the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) safety requirements.

What Are the Challenges?

  • Due to the COVID19 outbreak and the pandemic stress, the airline industry has reported a decline in demand.
  • Airline companies are into huge losses because of no investment doors and the condition will get worse in the wake of the pandemic.
  • More than 600 safety violations by different airlines operators were witnessed by the Indian civil aviation sector between 2016 and 2017, which thereby leads to compromising on the safety and security of passengers.
  • The aviation sector is also facing a shortage of Air-Traffic Controllers (ATCs). A report from Sunday Guardian Live, says that the ATC staff in India needs to be upgraded as well as the training institutions should possess the state-of-the-art infrastructure to provide hands-on training for ACT.
  • As per a report, due to the increasing congestion in Indian airspace, the country has seen nearly 90 cases of “near miss” incidents between 2015 and 2018. 

Way Ahead

The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2020, to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934, has now been passed by the Rajya Sabha. This Act pertains to control of the manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft.

What is your opinion on the bill?

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