India’s Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that 100 additional airports will be developed in the country by 2024.
While presenting the Union Budget for the year 2020-21, Sitharaman allocated Rs1.7tn ($23.7bn) to support the country’s transport infrastructure.
The new airports are expected to aid the UDAN Scheme. UDAN, or ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’, is India’s regional airport development scheme that aims to make air travel inexpensive and accessible for more Indian citizens.
When compared to the global average, air traffic in India has grown substantially. It is expected that the country’s air fleet number will increase from 600 to 1,200.
These airports are aimed at easing the strain on India’s current travel hubs.
The Economic Survey stated that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) manages 136 airports, while six others are Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). India is currently the world’s third-biggest domestic market for civil aviation.
In 2019, greenfield airports in Durgapur in West Bengal, Shirdi in Maharashtra, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kannur in Kerala and Kalaburagi in Karnataka commenced operations.
Since the start of UDAN, 43 airports have started operations. Four of these commenced in 2019-20.
The finance minister also stated that 1,150 trains will operate under the PPP model. In addition, the private sector will aid in the redevelopment of four railway stations.
The construction of a power capacity near the rail track is also being planned by the government.
Meanwhile, GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL) signed an agreement for the commissioning, operations and maintenance of the Civilian Enclave at Bidar Airport in the southern state of Karnataka.
Flight operations from the airport are expected to commence in the first week of February. One flight will operate between Bidar and Bangalore every day.
This deal was signed under the centre’s UDAN Scheme.
Last July, the Government of India approved a proposal to lease out three AAI airports under the PPP model.