Hyderabad: Airports Authority of India (AAI) has chalked out a programme for upgradation of airports with an expenditure of Rs 18,000 crore in the next four years.
This is even as the civil aviation ministry hopes to move the amendment of the AAI Act, 1994 in the ongoing budget session, a top official of the ministry said on Thursday.
RN Choubey also said the aviation sector in the country needs about 8,000 to 10,000 pilots during the next 5 to 6 years owing to the growth surge in the sector.
"AAI today, has got a capital expenditure plan of about Rs 18,000 crore to be spent in four years for airport upgradations," he said at a press conference on the sidelines of Wings India 2018, a biennial event on Civil Aviation and Aerospace being held here.
"As far as the amendment of AAI Act is concerned, we hope to move it in the current session and thereafter it is for the parliament (to pass). If the matter is referred to a select committee, it may take a little longer. But if everything goes well I think the amendment should happen in six months. Either in this session or the next, it should be through, he said.
The Amendment allows AAI to use its land in a liberal way. Replying to a query, he said, the Assam government has come forward to provide Rs 100 crore per annum for three years to start international destinations to Southeast Asia under the Udan scheme and the ministry will help the state in conducting bidding process and other related issues.
He however, clarified that the Centre would not provide any subsidy under the scheme as the idea belongs to the state government.
"Since the money is coming from the state government, we (the centre) are only facilitating and panning out the bidding through a transparent process. We will guide them but the final decision is with the state government," he said.
He reiterated that Udan s core concept will continue to be affordable regional flights, but it will lend its support to state governments that evince interest to fly to foreign destinations. "We are calling it Udan international," he explained.
According to him, the total number of destinations awarded under Udan scheme was 56 airports, out of which 19 have been connected as of now. "And now we are connecting roughly one new airport in every fifteen days," he said.
Choubey said the aviation sector in the country is doing exceedingly well and there is a need to to provide infrastructure services which can match this growth.
"Previous three years we grew at 20 per cent per annum and current year we are growing at 17.5 per cent per annum which is significantly higher than any other country in the world," he said.
"Just for the pilots alone, over the next five to six years the requirement would be anywhere between 8,000 to 10,000 pilots, he added.