‘Govt has No Vi­sion on De­vel­op­ing Air­port In­fra’

Coun­try will soon run out of space to park air­craft: CEO of Mum­bai Air­port

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

Mum­bai: The In­dian gov­ern­ment cur­rently has ' no vi­sion' on air­port in­fras­truc­ture and the mam­moth air­craft or­ders by air­lines pit­ted against a paucity of air­port space will cre­ate ‘a cri­sis’ for the in­dus­try in the com­ing years, said the CEO of Mum­bai air­port. Mum­bai air­port is the coun­try's sec­ond busiest and most con­gested one.

“The way air­craft are be­ing or­dered, I don't know where they will be parked, where they will fly. All ma­jor air­ports will be con­strained in the next five years. There will be a cri­sis”, said Ra­jeev Jain at the CAPA In­dia Avi­a­tion Sum­mit 2017. He said sev­eral air­port mod­erni­sa­tion projects haven't been enough to han­dle grow­ing traf­fic. He gave the ex­am­ple of Guwa­hati and Madu­rai, which have been sat­u­rated even be­fore their ex­pan­sion was com­pleted by the state-run Air­ports Au­thor­ity of In­dia.

ET had in July last year es­ti­mated that the ag­gres­sive fleet ex­pan­sion by In­dian car­ri­ers may far out­strip the growth in de­mand for air travel, forc­ing air­lines to take a hit on their yields. The ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity will also be dif­fi­cult to sus­tain, un­less air­port in­fras­truc­ture in the coun­try is rapidly de­vel­oped.

In­dian car­ri­ers cur­rently have 880 planes on or­der, of which 600-650 are ex­pected to be de­liv­ered over the next ten years. Around 30% of those will re­place old planes and the rest will be net ad­di­tions, said a re­cent note by CAPA Cen­tre for Avi­a­tion, a Syd­ney-based con­sul­tant.

Ear­lier in the day, Vis­tara's chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer San­jiv Kapoor said con­straints in air­port ca­pac­ity was the 'ele­phant in the room' which had to be ad­dressed. In­dus­try ex­perts also said that is­sues in con­ces­sion agree­ments have com­pletely sapped in­vestor in­ter­est in In­dia's air­port projects that have been up for investment.

The .₹ 16,000 crore Navi Mum­bai project re­cently, for in­stance, had three of four se­lected bid­ders say­ing they wanted to opt out of the bid­ding process. In­ter­est­ingly, the GVK-led Mum­bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port is the sole bid­der left in the process. Mean­while, CIDCO, the nodal body for the air­port is still strug­gling to clear land for the project. Jain said it was giv­ing .₹ 1 crore as compensation for mov­ing each tem­ple lo­cated in the area. Also, last year, AAI had twice re­jected Changi Air­port's pro­posal to op­er­ate and main­tain air­ports at Jaipur and Ahmed­abad on grounds that it was “un­fea­si­ble” and not com­mer­cially vi­able for AAI. PS Nair, group CEO at GMR Air­ports said while there is a vi­sion, ‘what has not been avail­able is a clear roadmap for the air­port ecosys­tem, how to take things for­ward,’ He said there are land use re­stric­tions that im­pede gen­er­a­tion of non-aero­nau­ti­cal rev­enue.

In­dian car­ri­ers have 880 planes on or­der, of which 600-650 are ex­pected to be de­liv­ered over 10 years


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