The government has proposed to build 17 new airports in 11 states, an expansion plan that will partly address the Indian aviation sector’s growing capacity challenges and improve air connectivity in under-penetrated states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation KC Venugopal informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that the airports have been proposed for construction during the 12th Five Year Plan.
Karnataka is the biggest beneficiary of the government proposal with as many as four airports to come up in Gulbarga, Bijapur, Hassan and Shimoga.
Goa will get a second airport in Mopa and Kerala a fourth in Aranmula. Airports for Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand will be built in Itanagar, Kishangarh and Deoghar.
The expansion, though significant, pales in comparison with China’s. The head of that country’s aviation watchdog said last year that as many as 70 new airports will be built by 2015.
Aviation consultancy Capa said India is under-prepared for major airport capacity challenge and requires investments worth $40 billion in 50 greenfield airports by 2025. Passenger traffic will grow to 452 million by 2020-21 from 143 million in 2010-11 and scheduled airlines’ fleet will expand to 1,030 aircraft from 430 in the same period, it said in a report last year.