India's new aviation policy will attract $150 billion in investments: Patel

Union civil aviation mister Praful Patel said on Friday 7 September that the government's new civil aviation policy — presently being scrutinised by a group of ministers — is likely to attract $150 billion of investment in the aviation sector by 2020.

Dubbed Vision 2020, the new policy will also actively encourage the setting up of 'merchant' or private airports. But air traffic control will remain under the government, Patel said. Tata Steel recently announced plans to set up a merchant airport in Jamshedpur.

"Our target is to have at least 500 airports, both big and small, with a total fleet of around 1,000 commercial aircraft within the next five years and around 1,500 aircraft by 2020," the minister said. He added that by next year, India will be the fourth country in the world to have a satellite-based navigation system for civil aviation.

The ministry is in favour of relaxation in the 'five years in operation' and '20 aircraft fleet' norm for airlines to be able to fly abroad, Patel said, so that Indian carriers can command a 50 per cent share of all in-bound and out-bound air traffic to and from the country, up from the present 30 per cent.