Govt okays Rs 4,500 cr project to revive 50 airports, airstrips

Source: Business Standard, Mar 07, 2017

New Delhi: The Cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to revive 50 unserved and under-served airports as well as airstrips at an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crore.

With the plan, the government is looking to enhance air connectivity to small cities and towns while the revival of such airports and airstrips would be “demand driven”.

The proposal was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 4,500 crore. 15 airports/airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19 each while 20 airports/airstrips would be revived during 2019-20,” an official release said.

As many as 50 unserved and under-served airports and airstrips of state governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and civil enclaves would be covered.

“Small cities/towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served/unserved 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 release said.

While noting that revival plan would be demand driven, the government said it would depend on firm commitment from airline operators as well as the state governments in terms of providing various concessions.

The unserved and under-served airports are to be developed “without insisting on financial viability”, the release said.

In the Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced plans for making adequate provisions for revival of unserved and under-served airports.

To make flying more affordable, the government has already unveiled the ambitious regional connectivity scheme UDAN (‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik’) under which fares are to be capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights.

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