Fifteen new airports to widen air connectivity among smaller cities
The Dollar Business Bureau In order to improve air connectivity in smaller cities, the government has granted “in principle” approval for setting up of 15 greenfield airports across the country. Greenfield airports are set up on undeveloped land with an aim to cater to the areas that are yet to be connected to the existing airports. Upcoming airport projects are planned in Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra. Karnataka will have four such airports at Bijapur, Gulbarga, Hasan and Shimoga, while Kerala will get two— Kannur and Aranmula. Besides, Durgapur in West Bengal, Dabra in Madhya Pradesh, Pakyong in Sikkim, Karaikal in Pudducherry and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh will also be covered under the project. The government has also laid down Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDG) with a view to achieve better regulation of air transport services taking into account the need for air transport services of different regions, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma said in Rajya Sabha today. However, it is up to the airlines to provide air services to specific places, depending on the traffic demand and commercial viability. As such, the airlines are free to operate anywhere in the country subject to compliance of route guidelines, the minister said. At presently, airlines are operating from 76 airports in the country, connecting all metropolitan and other big cities. The government has already set up an independent regulatory body- Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) – to determine tariff for aeronautical services provided at major airports in the country. Fuel charges are levied by the airlines as part of total airfare on account of cost of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) and other relevant factors essential for airline operations. Concerned state governments are responsible for rationalization of ATF pricing. India domestic air traffic has been increasing in the past two years, thanks to a series of discount offers triggered by increasing competition among low-cost operators such as Indigo, Air Asia and others. Last year, airline operators flew 67.3 million passengers, registering a growth of 9.7% in a year. In 2013, the domestic air traffic grew at 4.4% over 2012 and Indian carriers ferried 61.4 million passengers during 2013.
May 12, 2015 | 6:36 pm IST.