Over the next few years, passenger capacity at six metro airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai will reach 400 million passengers, said Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Speaking about the importance of airports infrastructure, Scindia told BusinessLine said the government overtly recognised the importance of airports infrastructure, and hence, it is one of the top priorities of the ministry to expand the capacity at existing airports or build secondary airports at constrained cities. Along with this, it is also the ministry’s plan to boost capacity at feeder airports in regional India.

Both Delhi and Mumbai airport are constrained for capacity, and, hence, these cities will get new airports in Jewar and Navi Mumbai, respectively and are likely to be operational by 2024. Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports were expanded to add on more capacity. Whereas Kolkata and Chennai are getting new terminals. 

“So your metro airports will either grow organically on current sites or add capacities on secondary airports, and that will help the feeder airports grow. We are talking about a capacity of 400 million passenger throughput capability just in six metros ,” Scindia said

He explained, “Once Jewar airport reaches its full capacity by 2026, in all, Delhi will be able to handle 170 million passengers at full capacity at both. Similarly for Mumbai, which is at 60 million passenger capacity along with Navi Mumbai, it will go to 80-85 million in the coming years. Bengaluru and Hyderabad have a capacity of 25-30 million going to about 90 million for both. Kolkata and Chennai both of which are getting new terminals, will augment capacity by 30-40 per cent.” 

The Civil Aviation ministry is looking to divest Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) residual stakes in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad airports over the next three years, Scindia said.

AAI has 26 per cent  stake each in Delhi and Mumbai JV airports and 13 per cent each in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

Divestment plan

When asked about a timeline, and the contours of the divestment plan,, Scindia said it was a three-year plan which will be synchronised with the capex plan for the AAI.

“The idea that when you look at encashing gains from some of your seeds sown years ago, those gains then have to be reinvested into new greenfield or brownfield and therefore that funding pattern will decide the divestment process.”

Scindia had earlier said that the Ministry plans to raise close to ₹98,000 crore over the next four years to be deployed in airport development. Out of the total amount, ₹25,000 crore would be from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and ₹22,000 crore would be for the expansion of airports and building of new terminals. The private sector may weigh in with investments of about ₹67,000 crore in new airports. 

When asked for at timeline, he said: “That has to be syncronised with the capex plan of the AAI. I’ve given you a ₹33,000 crore target for AAI in the next three years.”

Through AAI, the government has plans to expand 42 brownfield airports as well as set up three new greenfield airports while the private sector will establish three new greenfield airports including Navi Mumbai, Mopa and Jewar, and expand seven brownfield airports.

“We are investing in with a total capex of ₹28 crore capex and for greenfield there are three airports that we are putting up which will cost another ₹3,000 to ₹4,000 crore. Under private sector have seven airports where we are looking at a capex of ₹30,000 crore.”