The Indian aviation market is largely untapped with huge growth opportunities, considering that air transport is still expensive for the majority of the country’s population.
The Indian aviation infrastructure market is marked by the presence of several regional players who compete to secure new contracts for both construction and expansion of the aviation infrastructure. Several new contracts have been awarded to support the upcoming projects. L&T is one of the leading players in the market with contracts to modernize the existing international airports in the leading metropolitan cities. Several new airports and modernisation programs are scheduled to be initiated, driving the business opportunities for the market players.
The airport comprises of mainly three zones: city side, the terminal, and the air side. The city side is primarily designed to provide ease of access to the airport and its connectivity by road, metro, or bus services. The hospitality industry in terms of airport hotels is also one of the components as it provides hotels for transit flyers and other business-related travellers. The terminal is the hub of the activities with the check-in counters, security checks, and aerobridges.
The commercial area in the airport with the retail shops are big revenue generators for the airport and here is where the airports compete with each other to provide the best experience. The air side is the runway and all supporting infrastructure. It is not only essential but the very reason for the airport’s existence. Repair shops called the MRO (Major Repair and Overhaul) organizations, ground handlers, fuel providers and a host of activities happen in this part of the airport. The aviation infrastructure has an ecosystem with the airport at its centre.
Post-independence, aviation was thought to be the means of travel for the rich and famous. The socialistic pattern of development and the initial five years plans did not allocate any funds to the development of air infrastructure. Unfortunately, the airport development took place when the present airports were on the verge of collapse.
Under the Prime Minister’s UDAN policy, airports at Tier II and Tier III cities are modernised and even privatised. Today, India is almost there in terms of air infrastructure, but it has to keep pace with the growth and also plan well in advance to meet future requirements as aviation infrastructure projects have a long gestation period.
Arun Lohiya is the Chief Operating Officer of CAD Ventures Pvt Ltd.