The Indian airport sector is anticipated to receive investments worth Rs1.65trn ($21.6bn), including from private entities, in the next few years, according to India’s Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

News agency Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Scindia as saying: “We have a plan of close to Rs980bn ($12.8bn) crore over the next four years to be deployed in the area of airports alone.”

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Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) share will be Rs250bn ($3.28bn) out of the total funding, while another Rs220bn ($2.89bn) will be used to expand airports and construct new terminals in the country.

The government also intends to increase the count of airports in the country to 200.

Scindia added: “We had 74 airports prior to 2014 in 70 years of India’s independence and in the last eight years, we have built 67 airports … it is my intention, by the way, to take it close to 200 airports in India, and therefore you want to see a rapid expansion of airport infrastructure networks.”

Affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the civil aviation sector is recovering, with domestic passenger traffic gradually witnessing pre-pandemic levels.

“The domestic air passenger traffic crossed the four lakh mark for the first time in two years on 17 April,” reported the news agency.

Plans are also underway for a new policy for smaller aircraft to increase regional transport aircraft and helicopters as well as sea planes, ministers revealed.

New airline Akasa is expected to commence operations in the coming months, according to the minister, while shuttered Jet Airways is also anticipated to resume operations.