The government has given “in- principle” approval for 19 greenfield airports, of which some would be developed through Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Lok Sabha was informed today. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the country’s civil aviation sector was growing leaps and bounds but the safety of air passengers will never be compromised. Emphasising that air travel is growing leaps and bounds, Raju said during Question Hour that the number of aircraft in the country was around 548 compared to about 395 in 2014. Since the government came to power in 2014, around 50 aircraft is being added every year, he said.
Responding to a query whether shortage of skill was affecting the aviation sector, Raju said there is a problem and mismatch of skill. The minister asserted that safety of passengers was “never compromised and will never be compromised”, adding that safety and security was paramount for the government. When a member expressed concern over air safety against the backdrop of incidents involving Pratt & Whitney engine- powered aircraft, Raju said, “passenger safety is never put at risk”. Out of the 19 greenfield airports for which “in- principle” approval has been granted, some are to be developed through the PPP model.
“Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Bhogapuram and Dagadarthi in Andhra Pradesh, Hasan in Karnataka, Kannur in Kerala and Dholera in Gujarat” would be through PPP model by the respective state governments with a total investment of around Rs 27,000 crore, Raju said. The responsibility of implementing these projects rests with the state governments concerned, he noted. To a query, the minister said, “we like more airports to come,” and the government would work with the states in this regard.