New Delhi, Feb 1 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday proposed to expand the country’s airport capacity by more than five times to handle a billion trips a year under a new “NABH Nirman” initiative.
According to Jaitley, the balance sheet of Airports Authority of India (AAI) will be “leveraged to raise more resources for funding” this expansion.
“In the last three years, domestic air passenger traffic grew at 18 per cent per annum and our airline companies placed orders for more than 900 aircraft,” Jaitley said in his Budget speech.
“Regional connectivity scheme of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) initiated by the government last year shall connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads across the country. Operations have already started at 16 such airports,” he said adding that the policy initiative has enabled even a ‘hawai chappal’ (slipper)-wearing person to avail the benefits of air travel.