Monday, November 06, 2017

To ease business of flying, government to build 100 airports in 15 years

New Delhi: India plans to expand connectivity and meet potential demand by establishing about 100 airports — doubling the current number — in 15 years at an estimated investment of Rs 4 lakh crore, minister of state for aviation Jayant Sinha said.

Of these, 70 will be locations that don’t have such a facility, while the rest will be second airports or the expansion of existing airfields to handle commercial flights.

“Airport planning in the past was such that an airport is saturated by the time its development work is completed,” Sinha said in an interview. “We need to get out of that incremental trap and think for the future and take a long-term view. We will need to add about 100 new airports, as aviation in India grows.”

India has 100 operational airports and is the fastest-growing aviation market in terms of domestic passenger growth-. To tap this, airlines like Indi-Go and SpiceJet will add about 100 smaller planes to their fleet, over and above plans to add single-aisle aircraft. The government’s regional connectivity scheme that offers subsidised fares of Rs 2,500 to unserved and underserved airports has also given the sector a boost. The plan will be largely driven by the private sector, Sinha said.

The 30 airports in the second group will be in cities such as Jaipur, Guwahati, Pune, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Goa, among others. Most of the 100 will be built in cities and towns that hold potential such as Kharagpur but have no airport, a senior ministry official said. “The plan is to add many such cities to the aviation map,” he said, not wanting to be named.
06/11/17 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times