An amount of Rs 36.98 crore was spent on maintenance of non-operational airports over the last three years while Rs 897.28 crore were spent on 24 additional operational airports from where no scheduled airline is operating, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha hoped these airports would start functioning when a scheme for regional connectivity takes off. For this, the government is planning a slew of incentives for airlines so that they begin operating regional flights, he said while replying to questions. Sinha was responding after members raised questions related to non-operational airports while several others spoke about the need for air-connectivity to various important cities and towns.
The minister said the total expenditure on the upkeep of the non-operational airports over last three years has been Rs 36.98 crore. This significant amount was being spent from the consolidated fund of India, he said. He, however added that the government is working on a “regional connectivity scheme” for which a lot of consultation are being held and once it becomes working, “many (non- operational) airports would be put into service.”
Sinha said while private airlines have the freedom to decide their routes, they could be given concessions for operating under the regional connectivity scheme like reduced tax on Aviation Turbine Fuel, Viability Gap Funding, reduced langing as well as route facilitation charges for flying to regional towns etc.