To give wings to its growing economy, India plans to open 100 more airports and 1,000 new routes in the next five years: Usha Padhee

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Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary

In a move to revive its economic growth, India has proposed a plan to open 100 more airports and 1,000 new routes connecting smaller towns and villages by 2024.

The Modi government has proposed to make an investment worth Rs 1 trillion towards building airports in the next 5 years in its drive to make India a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025.

Speaking as a Keynote Speaker at the ‘Urban Development Aviation Summit’ organised by Elets Technomedia in Amritsar on September 28, 2019, Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, said, “The growth story of Indian Civil Aviation has been exponential. We are the 3rd largest aviation market as of today with 20 crore people traveling, with a break up of 7 crore in the international sector and 13 crore in the domestic sector. We will be opening up 100 more airports and 1,000 more routes in the next five years under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) of Government of India.”

Padhee explained that the incentives & subsidies provided under RCS are aimed at making last mile air connectivity affordable for the common man, thus contributing to the socio-economic progress of the nation.

While talking about the transformation of civil aviation scenario in the country, she mentioned that in while in 70 years of independence we hardly had 70 airports, the nation has witnessed development of 43 airports in just the last four years. “Just till three years back, many states in the country did not have more than 3 airports but now we have more than 7 airports in a number of states,” Padhee mentioned while delivering the keynote address.

Also read: Airports Authority of India: Focus on Greenfield Airports and Infrastructure Upgrade

Padhee highlighted the plans of government towards rationalising tax regime in the aviation sector by next year in order to bring more number of people under the ambit of air travel. She also listed opportunities in the aviation sector under Make in India program, including manufacturing of aircrafts, and ancillary sector, and financing and leasing ecosystem in the country which can be leveraged by states.

One of the interesting developments Padhee spoke about was the use of drones, which is a futuristic technology. Perhaps after 10 years, there will be vertical uplifting drones which would take passengers and cargo, she said.

Talking briefly about ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’, a pet project of the government along with the support of state governments, she mentioned how it will promote regional connectivity and make air travel affordable & sustainable.

She also talked about airport-induced development model which envisages development of the aviation sector and aviation infrastructure to spur development of cities & towns and add to rapid economic progress of the country.

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