The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has initiated a capex plan for development, upgrade and modernisation of various airports in the country.

Minister of State in the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation V K Singh told the Rajya Sabha that the AAI has taken up development of new airports and expansion/upgrade of existing ones at an estimated cost of around ₹25,000 crore in the next 4-5 years.

In addition, three Public Private Partnership (PPP) airports at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have taken up an expansion plan to the tune of ₹30,000 crore by 2025. These projects are at various stages of planning/development.

On Monday, the Minister said the capex includes setting up of Greenfield airports; expansion/ modification of existing terminals and new terminals; expansion/strengthening of existing runways, aprons; and air navigation services (ANS) works like control tower, technical block etc.

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Per the FDI Policy, 100 per cent FDI is permitted in scheduled air transport service, domestic scheduled passenger airline (automatic up to 49 per cent and government route beyond 49 per cent) subject to sectoral and other applicable conditions.

Under the Greenfield Airport Policy, 2008, which provides guidelines for establishment of new Greenfield airports, an airport developer – including the State government – willing to establish an airport is required to send a proposal to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA). There is a 2-stage process for approval of the proposal that include ‘site-clearance’ stage and ‘in-principle’ approval stage.

In accordance with this policy, MoCA has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up of 21 Greenfield airports — Mopain Goa, Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra; Kalaburagi, Bijapur, Hassan and Shimoga in Karnataka; Datia(Gwalior) in Madhya Pradesh; Kushinagar and Noida (Jewar) in Uttar Pradesh; Dholera and Hirasar in Gujarat; Karaikal in Puducherry; Dagadarthi and Bhogapuramand Oravakal in Andhra Pradesh; Durgapur in West Bengal; Pakyong in Sikkim; Kannur in Kerala and Hollongi (Itanagar) in Arunachal Pradesh. Of these, eight airports — Durgapur, Shirdi, Sindhudurg, Pakyong, Kannur, Kalaburagi, Oravakal and Kushinagar — are operational.

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Under the UDAN scheme, so far, 154 RCS airports including 14 water aerodromes and 36 helipads have been identified for development and upgrade.

Employee benefits

The Minister, responding to another question, on Monday, added that interests of employees of Air India and Indian Airlines have been taken care of by the Centre. The strategic partner, post disinvestment (by the Centre), shall continue to provide Gratuity and PF benefits to employees.

The arrangement with employees and the Life Insurance Corporation of India for administering the existing Air India and Indian Airlines employees self contributory superannuation pension fund trust will continue. Medical benefits are to be made available to retired and eligible retiring AI beneficiaries by the government.