To ease the strain on existing airport capacities, 100 more airports are to be made operational by FY24, while the number of aircraft with scheduled airlines is expected to double to over 1,200 by the same time, from 680 aircraft last November, the Economic Survey said.

“Besides using 46 idle airstrips, 16 private greenfield airports, 15 AAI airports, 31 heliports and 12 water dromes would be developed,” the Survey said. To bring in efficiency and resources, six airports (Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram) have been taken up for development under the Public Private Partnership model, it added.

In addition, five greenfield airports — Durgapur (West Bengal), Shirdi (Maharashtra), Pakyong (Sikkim), Kannur (Kerala) and Kalaburagi (Karnataka) were successfully operationalised this financial year, the Survey further said.

Capacity utilisation is also being augmented by way of automation at airports, it said, adding that four unserved airports were operationalised in FY20. This takes the total of number of unserved airports — made operational since the UDAN regional air connectivity scheme started — to 43.

“Despite a large airline suspending operations on April 17 last year, the sector swiftly sprung back to fill the void created in passenger and air cargo capacity,” it noted. Jet Airways has temporarily suspended operations.