India plans to construct new airports with integrated metropolitan rail connectivity to enable smoother transport of passengers and rail tracks to nearest seaports for faster movement of cargo, an official familiar with the issues has said. discussions within the government.

These multimodal connectivity hubs are expected to boost mobility as well as trade, the official said on condition of anonymity. The move comes at a time when air travel has rebounded from covid, and airline capacity utilization has exceeded 80% across all major airlines.

The government plans to increase the number of airports from over 130 currently to around 220 by 2025, and better prospects for the sector have given the feasibility of the project a head start.

“As part of the airport capacity expansion, there would be waterdromes in the northeast and some islands, and heliports in the hill states. Some of the new airports to be added are plans to convert existing airstrips into full fledged airports. In some of them, there may not be a need for massive infrastructure like in a metropolitan city, but a small, functional airport facility would provide air connectivity and stimulate economic activity,” the official quoted said. above, adding that even 220 airports might not be enough for a large country like India.

According to the person, the new airports built before the pandemic have contributed to the recovery of air traffic in recent months, giving confidence to policymakers to start new projects. In addition, the sector’s recovery has helped ease some concerns about the financial viability of airports, although factors such as high jet fuel prices pose risks to traffic. The creation of infrastructure is a key element of the Narendra Modi government’s economic recovery strategy, given its multiplier effect.

Earlier this month, the Union cabinet authorized a ₹A 1,305 crore airport project in Dholera, Gujarat which is expected to serve as a cargo hub in the industrial region.

An email sent Saturday to the spokesman for the Ministry of Civil Aviation went unanswered until press time.

Experts have said that increasing airport capacity will help grow the aviation sector, but in some cases at least incentives may need to be given to airlines. “Once you have an airport in a small town (under the Udan program), it is also important to incentivize airlines to start operations until traffic reaches critical mass,” said Rajeshwar Burla, Group Head, Corporate Ratings, Icra Ltd. cities has contributed to the rapid recovery of domestic air traffic after covid and is helping the industry as a whole, he said.

When it comes to the issue of airline fleet expansion, high capacity utilization is not the only deciding factor.

“Airline fleet expansion will depend very much on profitability and not just on the extent of capacity utilization. Airlines are currently facing constraints due to the high price of jet fuel and improving profit margins would be a factor in the decision to expand the fleet as operations need to be remunerative to make new investments.Another challenge for the aviation sector could be the impact of the sharp increase in airfares seen in recent times on traffic volumes,” Burla said.

The government’s asset monetization plan to mobilize resources for new investments in the infrastructure sector covers state-run airports. The initial payment received from the developers for the redevelopment of the airport under public-private partnerships will be used by the Airports Authority of India to make new investments.

Source : thebharatexpressnews