International aviation group offers to convert passports to e-passports
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The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has offered technical assistance to India to implement a project on converting passports to e-passports. The offer was made during ICAO's Secretary-General Taieb Cherif's meeting with Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel today.
Cherif said that a large number of countries have upgraded their facilities to e-passports and that there was an urgent need for India to upgrade it's facilities too to be at par with world standards. Patel assured to take up the matter with the concerned ministries at the earliest.
Stressing the need for having more airports in India and more flexible use of air space in the country, Patel said that it was now necessary to handle more flights in more airports as there would be need for multiple airports in one city very soon. For instance, he said that Mumbai might soon need even a third airport for non-scheduled operations to keep pace with the growing aviation traffic. For this purpose he sought the assistance of ICAO in undertaking feasibility studies and clearances to which ICAO has agreed.
The ICAO Secretary General also told Patel that India's level of compliance in terms of safety oversight has been found to be higher than the world average by ICAO.
Besides this India is one of the first few countries which has conveyed their consent to ICAO to make public their safety related information.
Globally, by the year 2020 there will be seven billion passengers flying, therefore, the issues of infrastructure capacity, airline capacity, airspace management etc. are required to be addressed. However, Cherif was impressed that India was one of the few countries which has already started addressing these issues seriously.
Cherif also emphasised upon the need for increasing cooperation in the field of technical projects between ICAO and India. A number of technical cooperation projects are already under active collaboration. These relate to Consultancy by ICAO to HIAL, DIAL Master Plan etc.
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