Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken up airport development programme, involving expenditure of around Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years, for expansion and modification of existing terminals, new terminals, expansion or strengthening of existing runways, aprons, Airport Navigation Services (ANS), control towers, technical blocks, etc.

Giving this information in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways and Civil Aviation, General (Dr) Vijay Kumar Singh (Retd) said three public private partnership (PPP) airports at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have undertaken major expansion programme involving expenditure to the tune of Rs30,000 crore by 2025. Additionally, the minister informed that investments of about Rs 36,000 crore have been planned for the development of new Greenfield airports across the country under PPP mode. Government of India has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up of 21 Greenfield airports across the country.

So far, eight Greenfield airports namely, Shirdi in Maharashtra, Durgapur in West Bengal, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kannur in Kerala, Orvakal in Andhra Pradesh, Kalaburagi in Karnataka, Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh have been operationalised.Besides, the government has reduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate from 18 per cent to 5 per cent for domestic maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.A conducive aircraft leasing and financing environment has also been enabled, he stated, adding that improvement in air navigation infrastructure at Indian airports is being carried out.The number of freighter aircraft deployed by Indian carriers has increased from 7 in 2018 to 28 in 2021. As a result the share of Indian carriers in international freight movements to and from India has increased from 2 per cent to 19 per cent over the last two years.

Under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), also known as the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) Scheme, as on 24 Nov 2021, 393 routes have commenced connecting 62 unserved and underserved airports, including 2 water aerodromes and 6 heliports. Government of India has released over Rs2,062 crore for revival of unserved and underserved airports/heliports/waterdrome of state government, PSUs, AAI, etc. between April 2017 and October 2021, he pointed out.

Under the new seaplane transport introduced by the civil aviation ministry under Udan-3, 14 water aerodromes have been identified in the states of Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, These are: 1. Sardar Sarovar Dam (Statue of Unity) in Gujarat, 2. Sabarmati  Riverfront, Ahmedabad, 3. Shatrunjay Dam in Gujarat, 4. Swaraj Dweep in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 5. Havelock Island in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 6. Shaheed Dweep (Neill Island) in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 7. Guwahati riverfront in Assam, 8. Umrangso Reservoir in Assam, 9. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam in Telangana, 10. Prakasam Barrage in Andhra Pradesh, 11. Minicoy in Lakshadweep Islands, 12. Kavaratti in Lakshadweep Islands, 13. Portblair, 14. Agatti in Lakshadweep Islands. So far, 28 sea plane routes have been awarded connecting these water aerodromes. The private entities that have won the seaplane routes are Spice Jet and Turbo Aviation. RCS flight operations from other water aerodromes will commence once these are ready for operation.

The development of water aerodromes will now be taken up by ministry of ports, shipping and waterways (MoPSW). An MoU in this regard has been signed between the ministry of civil aviation and the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways.The aviation sector in India has been badly affected by the severe disruptions caused by the SAES CoV-2 pandemic. The estimated losses incurred by airlines and airports in India in the financial year 2020-21 is approximately Rs 19,564 crore and Rs 5,116 crore, respectively.

Scheduled domestic flight operations were suspended from 25 March 2020, which were subsequently resumed in a calibrated manner beginning 25 May 2020 with 33 per cent of the capacity and fare capping (lower and upper limit on different sector) to ensure that airlines do not charge excessive fare. Evaluating the emerging scenario of the pandemic, the capacity restrictions have been relaxed from 18 October 2021, restoring domestic operations without any restrictions on capacity, the minister informed.


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