Monday, September 24, 2018

Is Sikkim Airport Really India’s 100th Operational Airport?

“Today, it is not only a historic day for Sikkim but also for the country. With the inauguration of the Pakyong airport in the state, the country got its 100th operational airport,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 September at the opening ceremony of Sikkim’s first airport.

How the number of airports in India adds up to a 100 as of today remains a bit of a mystery in the absence of any clarification on what kind of airport was being referred to or criteria was being followed.

The DGCA is the Indian governmental regulatory body for civil aviation under the Ministry of Civil Aviation while the Airports Authority of India or AAI under the same ministry is responsible for creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in India.

According to the Civil Aviation’s official annual report 2017-18 (Chapter 4,5,6 Part 1) published on 5 September 2018, there are 129 airports under AAI with 23 international airports, 78 domestic airports, 8 customs airports and 20 civil enclaves at defence airfields.

Of 129 airports, 101 airports –including civil enclaves – are operational and 28 are non-operational, according to government replies (here and here) to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) on 19 July 2018 and 8 August 2018.

According to 2017-18 data released by DGCA, as on 31 March 2018, there were 110 operational airports in the country.

The data, sourced from Airports Authority of India (AAI), till 31 March 2018, showed that there are 26 international airports, 8 customs airports and 74 domestic airports which are operational.
07/09/18 Asmita Nandy/Quint