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Investments worth Rs 36,000 cr planned for greenfield airports under PPP mode: Singh

Investments worth Rs 36,000 cr planned for greenfield airports under PPP mode: Singh


Investments worth Rs 36,000 cr planned for greenfield airports under PPP mode: Singh

Investments worth Rs 36,000 crore have been planned for development of greenfield airports under the public private partnership mode, Union minister V K Singh said on Thursday and also cited “highly price-sensitive customers” and high taxes on jet fuel as major challenges faced by the country’s civil aviation sector.

In written replies to Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation also said that adequate safety measures are already in place for ensuring safe operation of aircraft at airports, including those having table-top runways, as per the International Civil Aviation Organisation standards and DGCA’s civil aviation requirements. Singh said major challenges faced by the aviation sector include adverse impact of COVID pandemic, high taxes on aviation fuel, weak financial status of some airlines and sub-optimal infrastructure.

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The minister also mentioned highly price-sensitive customers, sub-optimal leasing, MRO and manufacturing, low presence on international routes, mega aviation hubs in India’s vicinity and shortage of skilled professionals as the major challenges. “The Public Private Partnership (PPP) airports at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru are undertaking major expansion projects of around Rs 30,000 crore by 2025.

“Additionally, Rs 36,000 crore have been planned for investment in the development of new greenfield airports across the country under PPP mode,” Singh said. The government has accorded in-principle approval for setting up 21 greenfield airports. Currently, there are five airports with table-top runways — Calicut, Mangaluru, Shimla, Lengpui and Pakyong. There are 140 airports, heliports and water aerodromes in the country. Presently, 24 airports of AAI are non-operational.

Airports Authority of India (AAI)/ airport operators have undertaken the work of restoration of the basic strip at Shimla airport at a cost of Rs 101.75 crore, he said. Further, work has been taken up for concrete cladding wall to maintain the uphill slope and strengthening the base of reinforced earth wall at a cost of Rs 180.61 crore at Pakyong airport. At Manguluru airport, work is on for expansion of terminal building, construction of parallel taxi track and grading of basic strip at a cost of Rs 567 crore.

On August 7, 2020, an Air India Express plane crashed while landing at Calicut (also known as Kozhikode) airport killing 21 people, including the two pilots, and injuring several others. A Boeing 737-800 aircraft carrying 190 people was involved in the crash. While trying to land at the airport amid rain, the aircraft overshot the runway and later broke into pieces.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) submitted its report on the crash to the civil aviation ministry in September 2021. The same month, the ministry had set up a committee of aviation experts to oversee implementation of the recommendations made in the investigation report of the crash. “The committee has furnished its recommendations to enhance safety of operations at Calicut airport. The concerned organisations have been directed to take necessary steps in this direction,” Singh said. He also said it is estimated that India may require around 1,000 fresh commercial pilots per annum over the next five to six years.

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