The continuous growth in the country’s air traffic has now forced the government to look for ‘secondary airports’ to tackle the issue.
In fact, the Center is working on a novel concept called ‘Merchant Greenfield Airport’ to allow private players to build and run airports without government funding. These airports will be built on privately-owned lands within permissible civil aviation parameters and would operate under the air-traffic management regime.
Government officials are already in touch with the private sector and other stake-holders to evolve the concept and they are confident of finalizing the policy very soon.
Civil Aviation Secretary had a meeting with representatives of industry chambers, airport operators, Consultants, regulatory bodies like Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and infrastructure companies.
A source privy to the development told that they are yet to take a decision on whether foreign airlines or airport operators would be allowed to participate but is serious about the project. Initially airports are likely to come up in areas with a high population density and with more air traffic.
There are no set international practices which can be used as a benchmark for merchant airports. This project is taking time because of that. It is also planned so that such airports could be useful in creating cargo hubs.
India expects to add additional aircraft worth about $80 billion by 2020 requiring investment in infrastructure up to $30 billion. And it would be difficult for the government to raise investments.
Even Non-metro Cities now need secondary airports. The unprecedented growth in the aviation sector has reached such proportions now that the country would need secondary airports in non-metro cities also over the next five-ten years.
Last year, the aviation sector grew by 50% and it is poised to grow double digit percentage annually in the next ten years. This has created a need for urgent and immediate growth in infrastructure. It is to deal with the growth in the sector that the government is encouraging Public-Private partnerships.