India to get 200 low-cost airports by 2020

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With 200 low-cost airports on the agenda of the Government, Indian aviation is all set to rise meteorically. Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, India, declared the plan to build 200 low-cost airports in tier II and III cities across the country in the next 20 years, in order to expand the air travel network and improve air connectivity countrywide. Ashok Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, addressed the media on the first day of India Aviation 2014 in Hyderabad.

Operations costs and service fees at the metro airports are immensely high, which the people of smaller towns cannot afford. It pushed the Civil Aviation Ministry to take the initiative to set up no-frill airports with basic infrastructure like that of major railway stations. Air traffic of the non-metro airports in India is expected to rise from 30% to 45% in the coming few years. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) is planning to invest INR 1500 crore in this project.

Among the fastest-growing nations, India holds the 9th position in the global aviation market. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is looking to elevate Indian aviation market to the 3rd rank, next to US and China, by 2020. Improvement of air navigation services infrastructure is one of the critical requirements to actualize the plan.

Currently, the Indian airport system is capable of handling 121 million domestic passengers and 41 million international passengers. Indian airports in total will be handling 85 million traffic and 336 million traffic on international and domestic fronts respectively from 2020 onwards, according to the Minister of Civil Aviation, India.

The destinations under the purview of India’s domestic aviation are served by a total of 400 aircraft, at present. The number of operational aircraft is expected to touch 1000 by 2020. Once low-frills airports are built and operational, the cost of operations will go down leading to a rise in air travel.

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