Budget 2021

100 UDAN airports to boost tourism

Our Bureaus Bengaluru/New Delhi | Updated on February 01, 2020

Secondary airports will give the impetus

The Government’s decision to develop 100 more airports under the UDAN scheme by 2024 will get a boost only if exclusive landing slots are provided by regional airlines.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Budget that development of 100 airports will promote domestic travel and connect more towns.

But analysts told BusinessLine that the government should include all the stakeholders while putting this scheme into practice. “The Government should be able to allocate a specific budget for setting up each of these airports and prevail upon airports in major metros to set up secondary airports closer to the main ones,” Capt AK Sachdev, former Chief Operating Officer, GoAir told BusinessLine.

Slots needed

He said most metro airports do not have enough slots to accommodate more flights and hence the regional airlines could look at operating red-eye flights. “Major domestic airlines may not want to invest in smaller aircraft as their focus is now on expanding their network to international routes. Hence, only the regional airlines will come forward and the government should support them,” he said.

Kuljit Singh, partner, infrastructure practice, Ernst & Young, said the government has come out with a good scheme. “What has happened in India is that private investment in infrastructure projects has come down a bit. I think the government is doing the right thing in opening up more sectors like Railways and airports.”

Skilled manpower

He said the UDAN scheme did not take off initially because the people who bagged them were unable to deliver. But in subsequent rounds, established players got into the act. Then, there was a partial revival of the scheme.

Indroneel Dutt, CFO, Cleartrip said the proposal to develop 100 more airports as well as the doubling of the airline fleet by 2024 will certainly provide for the growing demand, but this calls for skilled manpower development in parallel. The aim to double the fleet to 1,200 in the next 3 years will almost certainly accelerate the passenger growth rate.”

Published on February 01, 2020

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