As the report, “Domestic air traffic up by 16 per cent in September: DGCA” (October 26) states, this is a positive sign for the economy. At the same time, the booming aviation sector is facing acute infrastructure shortage.
More passengers mean there should be more flights. But it is difficult for any airline to get even a single additional slot during peak hours. Airlines are being asked to use the red-eye zone, that is, scheduling flights before 5 am, but this would only discomfit passengers.
Domestic airports are bursting at the seams. Twenty-five of the 126 airports run by the Airports Authority of India have reached saturation points in terms of their runways and terminals. Not only can more flights not land, but that there is also no space for passengers to stand comfortably at some airports during peak hours.
Domestic air traffic rose 23 per cent in 2016 and hit the 100 million passenger mark. Five hundred new aircraft have been ordered; 50 are to be added every year to the current fleet of 300. How long can these airports be sustainable?
While growth in the number of passengers is a sign of the economy becoming stronger, the government should ensure that lack of infrastructure does not become a hindrance.
Shiva Kumar, Mumbai
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