The Central Government has decided to come up with a 25 year masterplan for increasing domestic airport capacity. While addressing press at the 2nd Aero Expo India – 2017, Jayant Sinha – Minister of State for Civil Aviation announced a comprehensive 25 year master plan by the government to enhance the domestic airport capacities to enable them to keep pace with air traffic growth. This government initiative comes in wake of the crippling infrastructure at some of the top airports in the country. These domestic airports are today handling double the amount of air traffic as compared to what was handled by them a few years back. And according to a recent study, the structural capacity of these airports is likely to be breached in the next five years. Sinha said, “We are developing a comprehensive masterplan for our airports because traffic continues to grow strongly and will continue to do so. Even if we grow at 10% we will see massive requirement as far as airport capacity is concerned”. He added that air traffic is expected to ‘double, if not quadruple’ in the next 20-25 years and that is the ‘planning horizon’ the government is aiming at. The masterplan will delve into the need for multiple airports in cities, revised and refined agreements with airport operators, providing attractive opportunities for operating brownfield airports, offering multiple brownfield airports as part of a package for bidding as well as scaling up the Airports Authority of India, said Sinha.
A study conducted last month by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the country’s airport system is expected to exceed its maximum structural capacity by FY 2022. It noted that 10 aerodromes under the Airports Authority of India are already operating beyond their design capacity’, while other aerodromes at Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata will reach their maximum capacity in the next one year to five years. CAPA estimates that by 2030 India will need an investment of up to USD 45 billion to create an additional capacity of handling 500-600 million passengers at its airports.
According to International Air Transport Association’s (IATA), the 20 year passenger forecast of India by 2036 suggests that it will be the third fastest growing market with an expected addition of 337 million new passengers from 141 million passengers in 2016.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu was the Chief Guest at this aero expo and he underlined the need for improvement in safety and security of the Indian aviation sector by remarking, “Most crucial aspects are safety and security and there can’t be any compromise on these two counts. The most stringent norms have to be adopted to ensure safe and secure air travel“. He added that, “While the number of accidents and accident rate globally have shown a decrease as per International Civil Aviation Organisation, we should see to it that there are no accidents at all”.