New Delhi, August 10: The expansion of airports including the upgradation of infrastructures/ facilities at airports, is a continuous process, which is undertaken by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) or the concerned Airport Operators depending upon operational requirements, traffic, demand, commercial feasibility, etc. AAI and other Airport Operators have embarked upon a Capex Plan for more than Rs. 98,000 crores including around Rs.25,000 crore by AAI during 2019-24 for the development/ upgradation/ modernisation of various brownfield airports and developing Greenfield Airports to meet the growing demands.
AAI has undertaken the development/ expansion of Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Vijayawada and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Itanagar and Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh, Dibrugarh in Assam, Darbhanga and Patna in Bihar, Safdarjung in Delhi, Goa in Goa, Dholera, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat, Leh in Ladakh, Kalaburagi in Karnataka, Calicut in Kerala, Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur and Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, Juhu, Kolhapur and Pune in Maharashtra, Imphal in Manipur, Bhubaneswar in Odisha, Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy and Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, Agartala in Tripura, Ayodhya, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Muirpur and Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Dehradun in Uttarakhand and Kolkata in West Bengal. The upgradation endeavors encompass several enhancements, ranging from the construction of terminal buildings and ATC tower cum technical blocks to the expansion of civil enclave, extension, strengthening, and re-carpeting of runways, as well as the creation of aprons, parking bays, and other associated infrastructure improvements.
The Government of India has also formulated a Greenfield Airports (GFA) Policy, 2008 for the development of Greenfield airports in the country. As per the policy, if any developer including the State Government desires to develop an airport, they are required to identify a suitable site and get the Pre-feasibility Study conducted for the construction of the airport and submit a proposal to the Central Government for 'Site Clearance' followed by 'In-Principle' approval. So far, the Government of India has accorded 'In-Principle' approval for setting up of 21 new Greenfield Airports. Out of these, 12 Greenfield airports have been operationalized.
Besides, in order to enhance the regional air connectivity from unserved and underserved airports in the country, the Ministry of Civil Aviation launched Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) - UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagarik) on 21.10.2016 making air travel affordable to the masses.
The upgradation of airports to meet International Standards/Norms specified by International Organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), International Air Transport Association (IATA), etc. is undertaken by AAI or the concerned Airport Operators taking into account various considerations, including the commercial aspect, traveler requirements, land situation and airline preferences. Declaration of an airport as an International Airport depends upon traffic potential, demand from airlines for the operation of international flights, and bilateral Air Services Agreements. It also includes the provision of Ground Lighting facilities, an Instrument Landing System, runway length, Immigration, Health, and Animal & Plant Quarantine services, etc. At present, there are 30 international airports in the country.
This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Gen. (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd) in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.