Authorities in India have announced that the country will invest some 980 billion rupees (10.8 billion euros) in airport infrastructure over the next two years. Airlines are ordering hundreds of new planes to meet travel demand, which is expected to put increased pressure on existing infrastructure.
The world’s fastest-growing aviation market aims to increase the number of airports from the current 148 to 220 by 2025, for which private developers will invest about 8.3 billion euros and the state-run Airports Authority of India will provide the rest. These are new terminal projects and the renovation of existing facilities, including former colonial-era military airfields, Bloomberg reported.
Although the entire country of 1.42 billion people has a fleet of only about 700 aircraft, existing airports in major cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai are running out of slots.
We are working with stakeholders to look at how Delhi airport can become a hubJyotiraditya Scindia, India’s Civil Aviation Minister
The investment decision comes at a time when India is reasserting itself on the world stage, buoyed by a rising consumer base and $3.2 trillion in economic growth that is on track to surpass that of China. Boeing forecasts that passenger traffic in the country will grow at a rate of nearly 7% annually, compared with China’s 4.9% between 2022 and 2041.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make India a world-class hub as well as a destination for tourists and businesses. Linking smaller cities by air is part of his development agenda.
“We are working with stakeholders to look at how we can prepare Delhi airport to become a hub. A consultant will be hired to look at international comparable data to see how we can go about doing that, so that is a work in progress,” India’s Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said this month. “We need a concentration of airlines, domestic to international connectivity with those airlines, and minimum connect time between those airlines. We need to ensure that the vicissitudes and the volatility in terms of arrival and departures between flights are flattened out.”
According to aviation portal Live Mint, the consultant will evaluated the different criteria needed for the hub including the concentration of airlines, domestic to international connectivity, and minimal connection times between airlines. The study will review in close detail the best practices at Dubai, Doha, Heathrow and Singapore airports. The consultant is expected to submit a report in the second half of 2023
Earlier this year, recently privatized Air India announced the largest deal in commercial aviation history, ordering up to 540 aircraft, while IndiGo, the country’s largest airline, is expected to place a larger order. Other airlines are also expanding their fleets.