The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will spend Rs 2,000 crore to develop and expand major airports across the country in FY 18. In addition Rs 300-400 crore will be spent by the state run entity to develop airports under the UDAN or the regional connectivity scheme, according to two official in the ministry of civil aviation. Meanwhile, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) is tweaking the regional connectivity scheme — before the second round of bidding — to make it more friendly for both investors and business people. To begin with, routes of less than 150 kilometre distance will be included. Operators will be given exclusive rights to fly on the commercially lucrative routes and there will be added benefits for airlines operating on the routes in smaller towns and backward regions. MoCA is keeping track of the airlines who have bid successfully for regional routes and is confident they will start operations before September. AAI has zeroed in on 43 airports where work has started. Officials in MoCA said there are 25 airports that require investments of around Rs 10 crore each and six airports where the investments would be around Rs 100 crore each. Development typically begins once the routes have been bid out. In March, the union cabinet approved R4,500 crore for development of small airports across the country.
MOCA is also closely tracking aircraft acquisition of regional carriers – Air Odisha and Air Deccan – who are yet to start operations under RCS. “We are in constant touch with these operators and are confident that they will start flying before September. UDAN has started satisfactorily and there will be some changes before the second round of bidding starts,” said a senior official of the MoCA.
As of now, only Alliance Air and TruJet have started operating on the routes they have won.”No regional operator will make an investment to acquire aircraft before it gets all clearances. We are aware of this and have given operators six months to acquire planes ,”explained an official.