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Govt pursuing efforts to set up second airport in major cities

PTI:  June 10, 2019

Seoul: To meet rising passenger demand, the civil aviation ministry is pursuing efforts to have a second airport in major cities and requesting state governments to reserve land for building the aerodromes, according to a senior official.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said second aerodromes are required in major Indian cities, considering the way the aviation sector is growing.

State-owned AAI manages 125 airports, including 11 international aerodromes.

Noting that land acquisition is a problem in the country, Mohapatra said at least 2,000 acres of land is required for construction of an airport.

"We have been writing to state governments from the ministry and the AAI to reserve land somewhere in the vicinity of the city for a second airport and use land restrictions so that structures do not come up," he told PTI in an interview.

While Mumbai and Delhi are set to have a second airport, Visakhapatnam might also have a second aerodrome.

"We are (also) trying for Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and other places," Mohapatra said while speaking on the sidelines of an conference here recently.

India has been one of the fastest growing domestic aviation markets in the world. However, passenger traffic growth turned negative in April in the wake of crisis at full service carrier Jet Airways, which subsequently suspended operations due to cash crunch.

In April, all operational airports handled 26.70 million passengers and 2,75,150 tonnes of freight, as per latest AAI data.

Global airlines' grouping IATA has said that India and China are projected to account for nearly half of the air passenger growth worldwide over the next two decades, with travellers coming from all walks of life.

Responding to a query on Jet Airways, Mohapatra said there has been no impact on the finances of the AAI.

"We took back all the money that Jet had to pay (as dues). We monitor airlines' dues very seriously in a structured manner and we have recovered whatever dues they owed to us," he noted.

However, Mohapatra also said suspension of operations by Jet Airways had a significant impact as around 700 slots at airports fell vacant.

A significant number of slots vacated by Jet Airways have been awarded to other airlines on a temporary basis.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.