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India to construct 100 airports in the next 15 years: Suresh Prabhu

India plans to construct around new 100 airports across the country at an estimated cost of Rs 4.28 lakh crore in the next 15 years, Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said here on Tuesday.

Speaking at the International Aviation Summit here, Prabhu said these airports would be constructed under the public-private partnership. The country’s aviation sector is one of the fastest-growing in the world and has recorded 50 months of traffic growth in double digits. For this reason, at least 100 new airports will be developed in the next 10 to 15 years, he said.

He said, “We have planned 100 new airports in India in the next 15 years, with an investment of 60 billion dollars. The vision 2035 for airport development will take an integrated approach towards this direction, and we welcome everyone across the industry to give their suggestions.”
The Minister added that his government is also considering about the cargo policy so that the freight transport through airways can be developed.

Prabhu said growth forecasts for India indicated a trebling of passenger demand by 2037 when some 500 million people are expected to fly to, from or within India. Already aviation supports 7.5 million Indian jobs and Rs 30 billion of GDP (1.5 per cent of the economy). Global connectivity, which only air transport can provide, is a critical driver of all modern economies.

“Many businesses, particularly aviation, cannot survive and cannot thrive without that partnership. Minister of Commerce is in process of preparing a road map for India towards a 5 trillion dollar economy. While 60 per cent of that will come for services, and aviation remains amongst the principle contributor to this.”

Addressing the gathering, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said the growth witnessed by Indian Aviation Industry was unprecedented and was being been seen nowhere in the world. IATA has forecast 500 million trips in India in the next 20 years, and has recommended the need to brace up and be prepared for this growth.

“I would like to reassure everyone that we are in fact preparing for a billion trips. The demand for aviation is not a worry; we anticipate a huge demand from cities across India. It is the supply that needs to be kept up to pace. And therefore, we are planning airport infrastructure taking a 20 year view through NABH Nirman initiative which prepare us for the 1 billion trips.”
IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said while it was easy to find Indian passengers who want to fly, it was very difficult for airlines to make money in this market.

India’s social and economic development required airlines to be able to profitably accommodate growing demand. The country must address infrastructure constraints that limit growth and government policies that deviate from global standards and drive up the cost of connectivity.

The Aviation summit was jointly organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Airports Authority of India and IATA to commemorate the 50th consecutive month of double-digit growth in India. India is forecast to become the third fastest-growing aviation market in the world by 2025, and passenger traffic is expected to grow to over 500 million by 2037.

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com

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