Airport expansion, enhanced regional air connectivity are govt’s top priority: Ashok Gajapathi Raju

Nov 18, 2016: Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju has reassured the Indian civil aviation industry that the government is exploring all possibilities for capacity expansion of leading airports in the country as well as doing its best to make sure that the regional air connectivity is accomplished as per its UDAAN initiative.

The minister said this during the inaugural ceremony of the two-day Aero Expo India-2016 organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the patronage of Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha and Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey were also present during the event.

The minister also stressed that though the domestic civil aviation industry has been growing at a rate of more than 20% in the last few years, higher passenger growth in civil aviation sector is still a challenge for the government which could be won with addition of capacities in India’s leading airports.

Raju also emphasized that the cargo sector of Indian civil aviation though has developed but needs further expansion and development since the industry as such has been growing over 20% per annum and hoped that this growth rate would even exceed in times to come in view of India’s economic potential with its appetite for higher growth.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha suggested that civil aviation industry needs to grow in such a manner where its passenger traffic, currently estimated at about 150 million for domestic and overseas sector multiplies manifold and catches on pace with the air traffic of China which presently is calculated at 500 million per annum.

In order to achieve this objective, the ministry has been adopting three pronged strategies under its UDAAN commitment which includes expansion of airport capacities, ensuring regional connectivity and providing air passengers with better level of satisfaction and experience under its Air Sewa initiative, emphasized Sinha.

Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey added that by December 2016, dozen of schedule commercial operations could begin to connect small towns in the country under its regional connectivity drive.

Civil Aviation Committee Chairman, PHD Chamber, K Narayana Rao proposed to the government to bring in civil aviation sector under priority lending scheme of the government, especially for acquiring smaller aircrafts for enhanced regional air connectivity.