WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Marion C. Blakey and Praful Patel, India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, signed an agreement today designed to further the development and modernization of India’s civil aviation infrastructure. The two countries’ aviation experts will work together on issues ranging from air traffic control training and procedures to aviation safety standards and regulations.
India is the third fastest growing domestic aviation market in the world — expanding 23 percent in 2004 — and is projected to grow 20 percent a year between now and 2009. International passenger traffic is projected to grow by 10 percent per year through 2010.
“India is an important player in our effort to create a seamless global satellite navigation system,” said Blakey. “I am pleased that we can help them develop their aviation infrastructure to support the growing needs of both India and the international community.”
In a step toward managing this growth, India is developing its own satellite-based augmentation system that uses the Global Positioning System (GPS). Since 2000, the FAA has assisted the government of India in research and development of global navigation satellite systems and supported modernization of India’s air traffic control system through its GPS and GEO Augmented and Navigation (GAGAN) project, in which India has invested $100 million. Support for the certification of GAGAN for use in India’s airspace could be the first step under the agreement signed today.
In addition, the agreement will allow the FAA to work cooperatively with the Directorate General for Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India in meeting their growth challenges. Other areas to be discussed include the benefits and requirements of implementing Performance-Based Navigation, where aircraft can take advantage of advanced technologies to use the most efficient routings while maintaining the highest standards of performance and safety, as well as infrastructure planning and air traffic controller training to handle high-density traffic and monitor the safety of airspace.
The FAA established an office in New Delhi in August of this year to promote these potential technical support efforts with India. Randall Fiertz is the agency’s first representative in India and will be supported by the FAA regional office based in Singapore.