India to have over 200 airports, Indian carriers to order up to 1,400 extra planes in next 5 years: Scindia

New Delhi:  India will have more than 200 airports, heliports and water aerodromes in the next five years and Indian carriers will order up to 1,400 additional planes during the period, Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference on the aviation sector’s performance during the nine years of the Narendra Modi government, Scindia said India had 74 airports (including heliports and waterports) till 2014 and the number has now doubled to 148.

“In 2013-14, India saw six crore domestic flyers. Now, this number is 14.5 crore, up by 135 per cent. Similarly, the number of international air travellers has grown by 50 per cent during the period, from 4.7 crore to 7 crore.

“Besides, cargo including both domestic and international has grown by 65 per cent from 2.2 million tonnes to 3.6 million tonnes. We have become the world’s third largest aviation market due to the progressive policies adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.

Talking about the increase in the fleet size, Scindia said in 2014, the number of aircraft with Indian carriers was 400, which has gone up to 700 now, registering a 75 per cent growth.

“Air India has just placed a historic order of 470 aircraft worth USD 70 billion. This is just the beginning. It is expected that Indian carriers will order an additional 1,200 to 1,400 planes in the next five years,” he added.

The aviation minister said the number of airports, heliports and water aerodromes will go past 200 in the next five years.

“In 2014, there were only three greenfield airports. Now, 11 more are ready and 10 more have been approved. Similarly, the northeast region used to have nine airports in 2014 and the number has gone up to 17,” he said.

Scindia asserted that the airport sector will see an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in the next few years.

“By 2030, we will see 45 crore domestic flyers annually, up by 300 per cent from the current figures. The capacity of airports is being hiked. The combined airport capacity of the six metros at present is 22 crore passengers annually. With Navi Mumbai and Greater Noida, the capacity will almost double to 41.5 crore,” he said.

The minister noted that under the subsidised UDAN scheme, nearly 1.2 crore passengers have flown on 2.2 lakh flights so far.

“We will soon start international UDAN flights too,” he said.

Promoting helicopter usage, a push to flying-training schools and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) are among the areas that the ministry is working upon, Scindia said.