Ministry of Civil Aviation has sought a budgetary provision of Rs 4,650 crore to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports and airstrips as it looks to boost regional air connectivity in the country.
The expenses related to 32 Airports Authority of India (AAI) owned aerodromes, where there were no aircraft movements, stood at nearly Rs 15 crore last financial year, according to Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.
Under the new civil aviation policy, the ministry has put in place provision for promoting regional connectivity by way of reviving unserved and under-served airports and airstrips.
“In order to implement the scheme, a proposal has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance for making a budgetary provision of Rs 4,650 crore (approximately) to revive a total of 50 such airports/airstrips,” Sinha said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
“The scheme is to be implemented over a period of three years.”
As part of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), the government plans to provide viability gap funding which would be financed through the Regional Connectivity Fund.
The ministry expects to finalise RCS by August after receiving stakeholder comments on the draft.
According to Sinha, the selection of cities under RCS would be “demand driven”, depending on firm demand for airline operators and where the state government agrees to provide various concessions as envisaged in the civil aviation policy.
There are 394 unserved and 16 under-served airports in the country.
“No aircraft movement takes place at 32 airports out of 125 airports, including civil enclaves belonging to Airports Authority of India (AAI),” Sinha said in a separate written reply.
Development and upgradation of airports is a continuous process and is undertaken by AAI depending on traffic demand, commercial viability and socio-economic considerations, among other factors.