The Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that the government had given in-principle approval for setting up 21 greenfield airports in India.
The project will boost air infrastructure, enhance the affordability of flying and increase the amount of air cargo handling in India.
Increasing greenfield airports converging with an augmented flight connectivity mechanism under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme will transform the aviation sector.
It will promote air connectivity to under-served and un-served regions and contribute to more equitable, inclusive growth.
The ministry said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been monitoring airfares on some routes to ensure flights operations on reasonable airfares.
Of 21 airports, four airports will be developed in Bijapur, Hassan, Kalaburagi and Shimoga of Karnataka, and three airports in Navi Mumbai, Sindhudurg and Shirdi of Maharashtra, three airports in Andhra Pradesh, Dagadarthi, Bhogapuram and Orvakal.
Of the airports that received approval, eight airports in Durgapur, Shirdi, Kannur, Pakyong, Kalaburagi, Orvakal, Sindhudurg and Kushinagar have been operationalised.
The operationalisation of these airports would pin a vast territory on the national aviation map of India, especially in the northeastern region, providing strong air connectivity.
The airport projects include funding projects that stay with the concerned airport developers, including the respective state governments.
The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN was launched to promote regional air connectivity by making flying affordable for the public.
The scheme aims to encourage airlines to operate flights on regional and remote routes through enabling policies and extending incentives.
In the last five years, 409 routes and 66 airports have been operationalised under the UDAN scheme, over 90 lakh people have benefitted from it, and over 1 lakh 75 thousand flights flew under this scheme.
The government plans to construct 34 new airports, taking the total number of airports to 100 new airports in India with 1,000 new routes under the UDAN RCS scheme by 2025. The government also plans to invest $1.83 billion in developing airport infrastructure by 2026.
Currently, there are 130 operational airports, including 29 international, 91 domestic, and ten custom airports.
During the third phase of UDAN, the Ministry of Civil Aviation introduced seaplane operations from water aerodromes.
To date, 14 water aerodromes has been identified in Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
For better transportation of perishable agri-produce, Krishi UDAN 2.0 scheme was implemented at 53 airports in India, mainly focusing on the northeast and tribal regions.
According to the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), 25 Airport Authority of India (AAI) airports has been earmarked for asset monetisation between 2022-25.
The government aims to double air passenger traffic by 2030. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), India might overtake China and the US as the world’s third-largest air passenger market by 2030.