Govt Likely to In­vest .₹ 6,000 cr to Re­vive 75 Re­gional Air­ports

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Mi­hirMishra@ times­group.com

New Delhi: The avi­a­tion sec­tor is set to get a leg up with the govern­ment work­ing on a pro­posal to in­vest .₹ 6,000 crore this fis­cal year to re­vive and de­velop 75 re­gional air­ports, which cur­rently see lit­tle ac­tiv­ity.

The civil avi­a­tion min­istry will soon send a for­mal pro­posal to the fi­nance min­istry and both have al­ready dis­cussed the mat­ter at a re­cent meet­ing, a se­nior avi­a­tion min­istry of­fi­cial said. “The project will be im­ple­mented by the Air­ports Au­thor­ity of In­dia,” the of­fi­cial told ET, speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymity The pro­posal is in line with the govern­ment’s stated plan to take fly­ing to the masses, by boost­ing air con­nec­tiv­ity to small cities and towns, and sub­si­dis­ing fares to such des­ti­na­tions. In his Bud­get an­nounce­ment in Fe­bru­ary, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley had said the cen­tral govern­ment would part­ner with states to de­velop some of th­ese air­ports to im­prove re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity. Th­ese fa­cil­i­ties “can be re­vived at an in­dica­tive cost of .₹ 50 crore to .₹ 100 crore each”, he had said. But the avi­a­tion min­istry of­fi­cial said the govern­ment’s es­ti­mate is a lit­tle low. “Even AAI (Air­ports Au­thor­ity of In­dia) feels that each air­port can­not be re­vived in just .₹ 100 crore and the al­lo­ca­tion should be more.”

An­a­lysts said the govern­ment should look at the vi­a­bil­ity of an air­port be­fore in­vest­ing money in re­viv­ing it. “The govern­ment would want to pro­vide in­fras­truc­ture for air con­nec­tiv­ity

to as many points as pos­si­ble, which is a laud­able ob­jec­tive,” said San­jay Sethi, who runs Nec­tor Con­sult­ing and was head of the in­fras­truc­ture group at Ko­tak In­vest­ment Bank­ing. The pro­posal is in sync with the plans out­lined in a draft of the avi­a­tion pol­icy made pub­lic late last year.

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