Air traffic growth prompts infrastructure development at airports across India

The Union Government has also accorded in-principle nod for the setting up of six greenfield airports to meet growing traffic

With air traffic showing unprecedented growth of late, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has kicked off infrastructure development un a slew of airports across the country. The move has been envisaged as a means toward meeting the challenges posed due to the growth in traffic. The infrastructure development measures are being undertaken after considering various aspects such as commercial viability, traffic demand, and availability of land.

This apart, in a bid to boost the growth in the aviation sector, AAI and other private airport operators have taken up the development of new and existing airports with a projected capital expenditure of around Rs. 98,000 crore over the next five years, said Gen. (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd), Minister of State for Civil Aviation in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Six greenfield airports to come up

As part of infrastructure development in various airports, the Union Government has accorded in-principle nod for the setting up of six Greenfield Airports namely, Dholera (Rs.1305 crore) and Hirasar (Rs.1405 crore) in Gujarat, Dagadarthi (Rs.293 crore), Bhogapuram (Rs.2500 crore) and Oravakal (Kurnool) (Rs.187 crore) in Andhra Pradesh and Donyi Polo (Rs.646 crore), Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh during the last 7 years. Out of these, Oravakal and Donyi Polo airports have been operationalised.

Meanwhile, the Kailashahar airport has been earmarked for start of operations under RCS UDAN project. The Airports Authority of India has spent more than Rs. 2 crore towards renovation of the existing terminal building. This building is currently deployed for use for helicopter operations during VIP movements. The existing runway of 800 m has been found as not suitable for fixed wing aircraft operations.

Accordingly, AAI has projected a land requirement of 52 acres for extension of runway from 800 meter to 1200 meter and 17 acres for city side development of the Airport for operation of ATR type of aircraft.

AAI leases out six airports

Besides, the Airports Authority of India has leased out six of its airports – Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Mangaluru, Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram – for better operations, management, during last 5 years. The development of these airports are underway as per the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. These airports were awarded through open competitive bidding to Adani Enterprises Ltd, after the company had quoted the highest bid for all the six airports.

Till October 2022, AAI has also received concession fees of Rs. 710.88 crore from the concessionaires for these six airports, the Minister added.  He also clarified that the cost of air ticket prices is not directly linked to the airports being managed by the private companies under PPP.

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) of India, an economic regulator, has been established under an Act of Parliament (AERA Act, 2008) to determine the charges in respect of the aeronautical services rendered at major airports in the country.

AERA determines the charges at these airports including those leased out by AAI based on its regulatory philosophy of return on investment without differentiating between the PPP airports and State / AAI managed airports for all major airports.

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