Monday, September 19, 2011

AAI looks at development of regional airports

Neelam Mathews
Sept 19, 2011

Smaller airports that can develop through the Public Private Partnership model will be the next phase of growth in Indian airports, was the conclusion at the IACC meet on aviation in New Delhi.

“Though aviation business is not making money, airports are progressive regimes for development,” said Atul Sharma, Regional President, Indian American Chamber of Commerce.

“We were caught napping in the first phase of aviation growth with no infrastructure in place. We don’t want that to happen again,” said V.P Agrawal, Chairman Airports Authority of India.

Agrawal said 85 airports were active in India and 15 were dormant. While AAI is investing $3 billion in the 12th Plan (2012-2017) , the rest will be tapped from the private sector. AAI will seek the government's clearance for its proposal to issue $1.1 billion worth of infrastructure bonds to develop the 15 airports in the next five years.

“We are looking at more airports for Tier 2 and 3 cities to “make the ground fertile” for regional airlines," said Agrawal.

AAI says it expects India to have 150 airports and a fleet of about 1450 aircraft by 2030. Agrawal also said the government planned to rehabilitate old air strips in small towns and tier two cities of the country to improve air coverage.

Of the around 455 airstrips, AAI says it will is planning development of some of the airstrips along with the private sector. 

On another note, AAI is the sole navigation provider in India. “We’re pushing the case for a separate corporation to lower costs and increase safety levels," explained Agrawal.

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