Plan to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports approved

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The central government on Monday approved a plan to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports in three financial years starting from 2017-18.

According to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the approved proposal envisages to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports or airstrips of the state governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and civil enclaves.

The project is estimated to cost Rs 4,500 crore.

“Fifteen airports, airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19 each, while 20 airports, airstrips would be revived during 2019-20,” the CCEA was quoted as saying in a statement.

“As an outcome of the approval, small cities, towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served, un-served airports.”

“It will further boost the economic development in these areas as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development.”

The CCEA pointed out that revival of airstrips, airports will be ‘demand driven’, depending upon firm commitment from airline operators as well as from the state governments for providing various concessions as airports will be developed ‘without insisting’ on financial viability.

Last year, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had informed Parliament that the ministry had sought Rs 4,650 crore from the central coffers to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports.

That time Sinha had said that the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), 2016, has provision for promotion of regional connectivity by way of revival of un-served and under-served airports.

“In order to implement the scheme, a proposal has been submitted to Ministry of Finance for making a budgetary provision of Rs 4,650 crores (approx.) to revive a total of 50 such airports, airstrips,” the minister informed Parliament on July 19, 2016.

Currently, the country has about 75 operational airports. However, there are 17 under-served airports and 407 un-served airstrips in the country.

An under-served airport is defined as an airport which has no more than seven scheduled commercial flight departures per week, whereas an un-served airport or airstrip is the one which has not even received a single scheduled commercial service during the last two flight schedules.