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