File photo of Jayant Sinha
The aviation sector in India, currently growing at nearly 28 per cent, will see an investment of close to Rs 1 trillion in the next five years for capacity augmentation and development of new greenfield airports, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said on Wednesday.
As his ministry firms up plan to achieve 1 billion passenger trips per annum within the next 15-20 years, Sinha said the capacity addition would come with other amenities such as use of digital technology for passenger verification and bringing about a paradigm shift in airport designs.
While the Airport Authority of India alone would infuse Rs 201.78 billion in the next four-five years for development of infrastructure at 21 airports, a capex outlay of Rs 500 billion is expected to be infused for the development of new greenfield airports such as Navi Mumbai, Jewar and Mopa (Goa).
Besides, upgradation and expansion have been proposed for Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad airports under the private sector, for which an investment of Rs 250 billion is expected in five years, Sinha said, giving details of the Rs 1 trillion investment.
In particular, he talked about the Union Cabinet’s approval for constructing new terminals in Chennai, Lucknow and Guwahati, which together would see investments worth more than Rs 50 billion.
While the new terminal buildings in Chennai and Lucknow are expected to become operational by December 2021, the new terminal building at Guwahati airport would function from March 2021, AAI chairman
Guruprasad Mohapatra said. A ‘concept of design council’ has been set up by the AAI to give a new design to the upcoming airport buildings, which blends with the local flavour, the minister said.
The council comprises eminent architectures. The three terminal buildings approved on Wednesday has had the touch of these architects.
Talking about the ministry’s ‘digi yatra’ programme, Sinha said it is expected to be rolled out in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Varanasi and Vijayawada in phases by January 2019.
Under this programme, entry to security hold and boarding would be done through "e-gate" activated by face recognition. Passengers will receive all services through face recognition. As the personal data of a passenger is used under the scheme, the minister made it clear that enrolling for the digi yatra scheme would be “voluntary in nature and non-intrusive”.
He said the formats will be finalised soon and that they are holding discussion with the Law Ministry before launching the initiative.