Aviation sector shines bright

With the Union Cabinet approving a sum of  ₹ 5,082 crore for the upgradation and expansion of airport infrastructure at Lucknow, Chennai, and Guwahati airports, the aviation map of India is only going to shine.

Nisha Verma

The Union Cabinet has recently approved the construction of new brownfield airports in Chennai, Lucknow and Guwahati. Jayant Sinha , Minister of State, Civil Aviation, shared that the construction of these three terminals together would see investment of over ₹ 5,082 crore. He said, “The Cabinet has given approval for three aviation projects. It is the first time that we have changed the design paradigm of airports. We will be building terminal and airports that will reflect our heritage. We have consulted the architects under a special design council for the same.”

Sinha claimed that there will be huge investments to boost airport infrastructure in India. “For ensuring an infrastructure that will facilitate a billion trips, there is going to be an investment of ₹ 5-6 lakh crore over 15 years. In the next five years, we will see an investment of about ₹ 1 lakh crore in this sector,” he added.

Sinha revealed that out of the total to be invested in the next five years, around 21,000 crore will be done by AAI, while ₹ 25,000 crore will be invested in upgrading infrastructure at airports like Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru that are run by private operators. In fact, around ₹ 50,000 crore is expected to be invested in new airports in Mumbai, Goa, Jewar in Greater Noida, Pune, Bhogapuram in Andhra Pradesh and Dholera in Gujarat.

Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, Airports Authority of India, said that the new terminal buildings in Chennai and Lucknow will become operational by December 2021, while the new terminal at Guwahati airport would start operations from March 2021. “These airports will suffice for the requirement in Lucknow for 2030-31 and at Guwahati and Chennai for up to 2026-27. Of the total investment of around ₹ 5000 crore, about 60 per cent will be raised from the debt market and the rest from our funds. We will follow the same principle for next five years and raise 60% of the ₹ 21,000 crore to be invested by us,” he added.

“Sikkim is set to enter the aviation map of the country when Pakyong Airport becomes operational. It will be the 100th functional airport in the country when it will be commissioned in June”

Sinha also talked about Minsitry of Civil Aviation’s ‘digi yatra’ programme. Sinha said, “We are expecting to roll out the ‘digi yatra’ programme in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Varanasi and Vijayawada in phases by January 2019. This means that the entry to security and boarding would be done through e-gate, which would be activated by face recognition. Passengers will receive all services through face recognition. However, the tests for the same are going on, and as they would use personal data of a passenger under the scheme the government will ensure that enrollment for digi yatra would be voluntary and non-intrusive in nature. The formats would be finalised soon and we will be consulting with the Law Ministry.”

Sinha made a special mention for the upcoming Sikkim’s Pakyong airport. “Sikkim is all set to enter the aviation map of the country when Pakyong Airport becomes operational. It will be the 100th functional airport in the country when it will be commissioned in June,” added Sinha. Sikkim was the only state in the country without an airport. Under the UDAN scheme by MoCA, SpiceJet has been granted permission to fly to Pakyong from Kolkata.

Mohapatra added, “A total of 25 airports have been added to the aviation network under the regional connectivity scheme. The airports from where flights would start in May/June under the scheme are Jamshedpur, Cooch Behar, Durgapur, Kullu and Pantnagar. Thirteen airports are being upgraded under the scheme. They include Kanpur, Rourkela, Burnpur, Utkela, Jeypore, Jharsuguda, Bilaspur, Ambikapur, Jagdalpur, Mithapur, Neyveli, Solapur and Raigarh. Apart from that, 23 airports and helipads have been awarded to handle helicopter operations under the scheme.”

 

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