The mobility of men and material by air is called air transport. It is the fastest means of transport. It is very useful for long distances and saves time.
The Parliament passed the Air Transport Corporation Act in 1953 under which the Indian Airlines Corporation was to run domestic services and Air India is to run external services.
Vayudoot and Pawan Hans are the two airlines added to civil aviation recently. Vayudoot operates in remote stations not covered by Indian Airlines. Pawan Hans provides helicopter services to remote places. In 1972, International Airport Authority of India (IAAI) was established and in 1986 National Airport Authority of India (NAAI) was installed.
The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is responsible for maintenance of civil aerodromes. After the implementation of economic reforms, Govt. has been following the policy of open skies and private airlines have been permitted to operate in the field of civil aviation.
Advantages of Air Transport:
The following are the main advantages:
1. High Speed:
It is the fast speed means of transport. Passengers and goods can be transported easily from one place to the other.
2. Minimum Cost:
Unlike railways and road transport, there is no need to spend money on the construction of any track or road, only airports have to be constructed.
3. Strategic Importance:
An airway has great strategic importance. It can be used for internal and external security.
4. Easy transport of costly and light goods:
It is quite convenient to send costly, light and perishable goods through air transport.
5. Free from physical barriers:
Air transport is free from physical barriers like river, mountains and valleys etc.
6. Useful for Agriculture:
Air transport is useful for aerial spray on pests and insects which cause harm to crops.
7. Useful in natural calamities:
During earth quake, flood, accidents and famine air transport is used for rescue operations.
Disadvantages of Air Transport:
The following are the disadvantages:
1. High Costs:
Air transport is a costly service. Its operational costs are too high. Middle class and poor people can not affect its cash.
2. More Risks:
Air transport is prone to accidents. A small mistake can be very dangerous for passengers. Hijacking of planes is easily possible.
3. Huge Investments:
For creating aviation facilities, huge investments are required. The cost of aero planes, construction and maintenance of aerodromes and control mechanism needs a capital expenditure.