This is not the first time that the government has discussed abolishing the 150 km clause. The issue was discussed earlier when Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had asked for permissions to build airports within the 150 km radius of the Delhi airport.
The civil aviation ministry is aiming at increasing air connectivity in the country with the abolition of the clause, as it would allow more airports to come up in the smaller cities across the country.
A senior civil aviation ministry official said that abolition of the clause is being discussed. “We will also try and talk to the existing airport operators in Delhi to get a relaxation for the airport in Delhi,” he added. No discussion on the same has been initiated with airport operators now.
According to the current norms, no other airport can come up in the 150 km radius of the existing Delhi airport unless the growth in passenger requires for the same.
Airports in Hyderabad and Bangalore also cannot have another airport within their 150 km radius.
“The waiver would be allowed for airports coming up in the future. This would be of great help to the travellers and we may see a lot of new airports coming up in the smaller cities of the country,” said an Airports Authority of India official.
The official added that request for around 20 greenfield airports have come from various state governments.
“Requests have come from cities like Ahmedabad, where the existing airport can take care of the traffic for a decent number of years. If all such airports come up, we will have a huge network of airports in the country,” he further said.
Private airports operator believe that any policy relaxation is welcome if it helps in improving connectivity.
“Every time a private operator bids for an airport project, it takes into consideration existing rules in place. If the government plans to do away with the 150 km rule, we would take this into consideration while bidding for quoting revenue share in the projects coming up in the future,” said a GMR executive.