1. India’s aviation problem: Chocked airports at Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, other cities

India’s aviation problem: Chocked airports at Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, other cities

As airlines add capacity, the same needs to happen at airports too

By: | Updated: July 21, 2016 9:43 AM
Investment is also needed in air traffic management and building skills. For a country slated to be the third-largest aviation market in 2020 after the US and China, India is way behind in airport infrastructure. (Reuters) Investment is also needed in air traffic management and building skills. For a country slated to be the third-largest aviation market in 2020 after the US and China, India is way behind in airport infrastructure. (Reuters)

Airlines in India have been busy adding capacity as the aviation market grew the fastest globally, at 20.3%, in 2015. IndiGo and Go Air have between them placed orders for 322 Airbus A320neo aircraft over the past few months. The problem, however, is airport capacity. According to a CAPA study, India’s Airport Capacity Crisis, 18 of the 30 larger non-metro airports have already exceeded capacity or will be saturated over the next two years. Capacity utilisation at the Jammu airport is 278%, 167% in Bagdogra, 127% in Kozhikode, 115% in Guwahati and 95% in Lucknow.

Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Coimbatore and Srinagar too will join the list in 2018. Mumbai will get some respite in 2020, if the Navi Mumbai airport (25 million) is commissioned. A new airport is planned at Mopa (Goa) while a smaller one is coming up at Kannur (Kerala).

However, Chennai and Kolkata have no immediate capacity addition plans. Bengaluru ,with 19 million passengers, saw traffic rise 23.2% during 2015-16 while Delhi, with 48.4 million, saw a 18.1% rise. Mumbai’s rose by 13.7%, while Hyderabad’s rose by 18.1% rise and Kochi’s by 21%.

Since it takes five years to commission an airport, this problem is not going away soon. While India needs to invest $40 billion in airport capacity over the next 10 years, the commitment is limited to $4.9 billion. Meanwhile, China is investing $130 billion over the next 15 years.

Investment is also needed in air traffic management and building skills. For a country slated to be the third-largest aviation market in 2020 after the US and China, India is way behind in airport infrastructure. Before the shiny new jets land, the government needs to get capacity augmented.

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