100 more airports for India, says DGCA
Giving a push to aviation infrastructure development, Government is planning to build or modernise 100 airports over the next few years. speaks to Director General of Civil Aviation, Arun Mishra, about the excitement it has infused in the airline industry
TEENA BARUAH now being developed. But these will need some investment before they become operational.
We are looking at lowcost, no-frills airport with a basic terminal building and facilities. The idea is to reduce the cost of operations, so services can be started at a lower cost in order to build up traffic. The investment has to be minimum. Apart from that, we need cooperation from other stakeholders. The state government should provide land and offer tax benefits. The AAI can give free night-parking. And when traffic picks up, these airports can sustain themselves. tremendously. AAI is also giving them free night-parking and these incentives are available for scheduled airlines. ity of operation is an issue. In Goa, the capacity is very limited and there is a lot of demand, but we will soon get a new airport in North Goa.
There are three greenfield projects in the Northeast, Sikkim Pakyong, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Chiethu in Kohima, Nagaland. The Sikkim airport has already taken off and will be commissioned next year. The character of the land ( because of uneven terrain) is such that airports can’t be constructed there. These will need a lot of investments to cut hills and will impact the local environment somewhat. Another way of increasing NE connectivity is helicopters, but it is a very expen- sive mode of communication, and is not sustainable in all weather conditions, because they do a lot of low flying.
According to the Route Dispersal Guidelines for Scheduled Air Operators, all airlines have to now run 10 per cent of their main routes in areas of Northeast, Jammu & Kashmir and Lakshadweep. It’s a difficult task for airlines, but it will boost regional connectivity.
The Agra airport is functional, and it is being used by Air India. But again, it’s a defence airfield, so there are constraints. You have to have your own terminal building and the requirement of the defence take precedence over civil aviation. Hence, flights can get delayed.
The Indian market is bound to grow. We have a huge middle-class which is just waiting to travel by air, so we need to make some enabling circumstances, so that people can start flying. But for that, there has to be policies that promote aviation. Right now, taxation and ATF expenses comprise 40- 50 per cent cost of airlines. Also, maintenance and repairs organisations should be encouraged to set shop in India, as a lot of airlines go abroad for maintenance. We also have a challenge of human resources, hence we are planning to start Masters in Aviation Management in our upcoming civil aviation university in Fursatganj, Raebareli. It should be operational by next year.
Director General of Civil Aviation