By Prateek Sharma in NEW DELHI: The Indian government has given ‘In Principle’ clearance to the construction of twenty-one greenfield airports around the country, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V. K. Singh said in a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
India’s annual civil aviation sector growth rate is currently around 9%, but is likely to reach double digits in the next years, according to sources. The number of airports is predicted to rise from 133 to 500 in the next two decades. Greenfield airports will account for 367 of these.
According to Singh’s statement these 21 airports would be set up in Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai, Sindhudurg and Shirdi in Maharashtra, Bijapur,Hassan, Kalaburagi and Shimoga in Karnataka, Dabra (Gwalior) in Madhya Pradesh, Kushinagar and Jewar (Noida) in Uttar Pradesh, Dholera and Hirasar in Gujarat, Karaikal in Puducherry, Dagadarthi, Bhogapuram and Orvakal (Kurnool) in Andhra Pradesh, Durgapur in West Bengal, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kannur in Kerala and Hollongi (Itanagar) in Arunachal Pradesh.
Notably eight of these twenty one Greenfield airports have already been operationalized, namely- Durgapur Airport in West Bengal, Shirdi Airport in Maharashtra, Kannur Airport in Kerala, Pakyong Airport in Sikkim, Kalaburagi Airport in Karnataka, Orvakal (Kurnool) Airport in Andhra Pradesh, Sindhudurg Airport in Maharashtra and Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh.
Regarding building delays, Singh stated that the schedule for airport development is determined by a variety of factors such as site acquisition, mandatory permissions, barrier removal, and financial closure by the separate airport developers. The duty for airport project implementation, including funding, resides with the concerned airport developer, as well as the respective State Government (in case the State Government is the project proponent).
A greenfield airport is a new airport built from the ground up in a new site. Such airports are built to meet the predicted traffic needs of the current airport.
In October 2016, the Ministry of Civil Aviation also introduced the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) to promote regional air connectivity and make air travel more affordable for the general public. According to Singh’s statement, the scheme’s airport expansion/development is ‘demand-driven,’ relying on strong commitments from airline carriers as well as the State Government to provide various subsidies.
Based on four rounds of bidding under UDAN, 154 RCS airports, including 14 water aerodromes and 36 Helipads, have been identified for RCS flight operations across the country, including in Uttar Pradesh. As of March 14, 2022, 66 unserved and underserved airports, including 8 heliports and 2 water aerodromes, were operating.