PLAN TO DOU­BLE AIR­PORTS

SP's Airbuz - - News Briefs -

As per the Min­is­ter of State for Civil Avi­a­tion, Jayant Sinha, the gov­ern­ment plans to dou­ble the num­ber of air­ports in In­dia over the next two to three years in a bid to serve the largely un­tapped do­mes­tic avi­a­tion mar­ket which has seen an in­crease in pas­sen­ger traf­fic. “Our party in its 2014 elec­tion man­i­festo an­nounced the UDAN scheme, un­der which we have to ex­pand the num­ber of air­ports. The fact is we have 75 air­ports with sched­uled ser­vices. We want to dou­ble that num­ber in the next two to three years,” he said.

The gov­ern­ment on July 1, 2016, had un­veiled a draft UDAN scheme to make fly­ing af­ford­able for cit­i­zens. The Min­is­ter said the gov­ern­ment would raise 400 crore to run the UDAN air con­nec­tiv­ity scheme. The gov­ern­ment was ask­ing air­lines to bid for these routes that pro­vide con­nec­tiv­ity to other ma­jor air­ports. Air­lines that bid with the low­est rates would be awarded the route, he said. The scheme was aimed at de­vel­op­ing re­gional routes that are “un­der­de­vel­oped” with in­creased prof­itabil­ity, he said. “When bids are fi­nally given out in Jan­uary 2017, we will cre­ate an en­tirely new re­gional mar­ket,” he said.

Stat­ing that 14 crore peo­ple take flights, com­pared with 13 crore peo­ple who use air­con­di­tioned rail coaches ev­ery year, he said that air pas­sen­ger growth in In­dia av­er­aged around 10-11 per cent over the last decade. On ex­pan­sion of air­ports, he said that most air­ports across In­dia face “ca­pac­ity chal­lenges”. “We are work­ing to­wards Chen­nai to be a global air­port. Along with Chen­nai, we are look­ing at Ben­galuru and Kolkata.

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