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India will have 220 airports in next 2-3 years, says Scindia
Civil Aviation Minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, announced on Wednesday that India is set to have 200-220 airports, heliports, and water aerodromes in the next two to three years.
Speaking at a Press conference in Delhi, the minister highlighted that until 2014, only 74 airports were operational in the country. However, by March 2023, another 74 airports, helicopters, and water aerodromes have been successfully established.
Scindia outlined the objective of reaching a total of 220 airports by 2024-25, including the recent declaration of Tirupati, Vijayawada, Kushinagar, and Mopa Airports as international airports, bringing the total number of international airports in India to 30.
The minister further emphasised ongoing efforts to enhance capacity at metro airports, with plans to increase overall capacity from the current 221 million passengers per annum (MPPA) to over 456 MPPA in the next decade.
"Expansion projects are underway or completed at airports such as DIAL, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Additionally, the construction of Greenfield Airports in Jewar and Navi Mumbai will boost capacity expansion in Delhi and Mumbai, respectively," he said.
Scindia also highlighted the substantial progress in Greenfield airport development, with 11 operationalised in the past nine years. "In-principle approval has been granted for an additional 11 Greenfield airports, including Dholera and Hirasar in Gujarat," said the minister.
The minister underscored the significant increase in the number of airports in the northeastern states, nearly doubling from nine airports in 2014 to 17 airports currently operational.
The new airports include Hollongi, Ziro, Pasighat, Dibrugargh, Tezpur, Pakyong, etc.
Regarding investment, Scindia mentioned the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), projecting a CAPEX of over Rs 98,000 crore from FY2019-20 to FY2024-25.
"The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is expected to contribute approximately Rs 25,000 crore, while the remaining expenditure will be borne by airport developers under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. As of March 2023, Rs 53,655 crore has already been spent. The AAI has made a capital expenditure of over Rs 20,000 crore in the past nine years to bolster the civil aviation sector," he said.
"Looking ahead, India is on track to witness an impressive expansion of its airport infrastructure over the next five years, with projections indicating the establishment of over 200 airports. Additionally, a leasing process for 29 aircraft is currently underway at GIFT City, a meticulously planned financial and technology hub located in Gujarat," said the minister.
Scindia also drew attention to the progress made in implementing the Digi Yatra initiative at AAI-managed airports. More than half of the AAI airports have successfully integrated Digi Yatra, a digital travel experience aimed at streamlining passenger processes.
However, the minister acknowledged the comparatively lower adoption rate of Digi Yatra in private airports, ranging from 10 to 20 per cent.
"Efforts are being made to encourage wider implementation of this digital travel initiative in private airports to ensure a consistent and efficient travel experience for passengers," he said.