The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is tackling growing air traffic with an initiative called “Terminal Reconfiguration.” This initiative revamps 57 existing terminals across India to optimise passenger handling capacity without expensive new construction. AAI expects to save a significant amount, ₹10,000 crore, through this project.

“The number of air passengers has grown significantly. To avoid crowded terminals, AAI is renovating its existing buildings at 57 terminals in total to handle more people smoothly,” said an AAI official.

Exponential growth

The civil aviation sector is experiencing exponential growth and AAI is constantly working on improving facilities at existing airports. Terminal designs are being streamlined to optimise space utilisation.

An AAI official said: “Upon project review, we recognised opportunities to streamline terminal designs, optimising space utilisation and operational efficiency. This led to a strategic decision to reconfigure terminal buildings according to each terminal’s unique needs.” AAI engineers are strategically reconfiguring terminal buildings to better handle passenger flow and address the unique needs of each facility.

This project involves repurposing underutilised areas and optimising office space allocation to maximize the overall utility of each terminal. These modifications are expected to be completed within the next 18 months. “Reconfiguration will enable terminals to serve more passengers and hence, less requirement of undertaking heavy infrastructure development at those terminals immediately to resolve the issue of congestion,” another senior official added. By making the said changes, the person said, “it could save the AAI over ₹10,000 crore.” Raipur, Imphal and Ayodhya are amongst the 57 airports.

Airport congestion has been a major concern. Last December, the Civil Aviation Ministry emphasised prioritising passenger movement over retail outlets in airports. The Ministry is also working on solutions like increasing departure gates, check-in gates, security screening machines and deploying additional security personnel.

In addition to the Terminal Reconfiguration Plan, AAI is planning significant growth. It aims to expand its network from 157 airports to 200 by 2029. This expansion is backed by a ₹30,000 crore capital expenditure plan for the next five years. The AAI has also achieved strong financial performance in FY24, surpassing its capital expenditure target and achieving record-breaking revenue and profit.