India expects $6 bn in aviation investments; 30% traffic growth
08 September 2016
Sounding bullish on the prospects for the country's aviation sector, the government on Wednesday said it expects $6 billion of investments in the airports sector and passenger numbers would see over 30 per cent growth in five years.
To boost the aviation sector, which has high growth potential, the government has come out with a new civil aviation policy that among other things seeks to revive unserved and under-served airports as well as improve regional air connectivity.
India would see investments of "$6 billion in five years in airports (sector)," civil aviation secretary R N Choubey said. At current exchange rates, this would translate to nearly Rs40,000 crore.
Speaking at the inauguration of the GAD Asia conference in New Delhi, he said that out of the estimated total amount, around $1 billion would be used for reviving airports and about $3 billion would be for upgrading aerodromes owned by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Further, Choubey said local air traffic may grow more than 30 per cent over the next five years.
During the January-July period this year, the number of passengers carried by domestic carriers jumped 23 per cent compared to the year-ago period.
In July alone, the domestic air passenger traffic soared nearly 26 per cent - registering double-digit growth for the 24th consecutive month.
According to Choubey, there would be need for around 100 small aircraft in the next three years.
Under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), the government seeks to revive un-served as well as under-served airports, among others.
Presently, around 75 out of 450 airstrips / airports have scheduled operations and revival of the remaining ones would be "demand driven", depending on firm demand from airline operators, as per the new civil aviation policy.
According to the policy, no-frills airports would be developed at an indicative cost of Rs50-100 crore, without insisting on its financial viability.
Meanwhile, the government is looking to amend regulations with respect to certain aspects of leasing of aircraft.
Choubey said the ministry would amend rules to "make sure lessors can take back aircraft in case of default, in line with the Cape Town Convention. It provides the protocol to be followed with regard to leasing of aircraft equipment, including the aircraft.