AAI can monetise 2000-3000 acres of its land, says Raju
Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday said the national airports operator AAI could monetise around 2000-3000 acres of its land and utilise the funds raised in airport infrastructure development.
Under the current norms, airport land could be used only for limited purposes.
Raju's comments came a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in the 2017-18 Union Budget that "the AAI Act will be amended to allow monetisation of land assets owned by AAI."
"AAI can easily monetise 2000-3000 acres of land... The amount (raised) from this should contribute to infrastructure (development)," Raju said.
He also said the move to monetise the land assets of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) would benefit the fliers as well.
AAI owns around 55,000 hectares of land in urban areas across the country.
Significantly, the AAI chairman too had last year said the authority would focus on monetisation of its huge chunk of land on the city side across airports in the country as part of AAI's larger efforts to enhance non-aeronautical revenues.
AAI's non-aeronautical revenue currently account for around 19 per cent of its annual top line.
Asserting that the government's ambitious regional connectivity scheme UDAAN was going in the "right" direction, Raju said the first flight under the scheme was likely to take off in March.
Terming the budget as "excellent", Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha said monetisation of airports and development of aerodromes in Tier-2 cities under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode would help enhancing capacity and generate additional resources for new projects.
"(Its) A very important policy step.. With monetisation and PPP mode in tier-2 cities, we will massively expand capacities and generate new resources to build new tier-3 airports," Sinha said.
Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said he was "happy" with the budget. "We got what we wanted from the budget," he said.
"We wanted AAI Act to be amended so that land could be monetised," he said.