The Indian airports sector is expected to attract during the 12th Plan period investments worth $12.1 billion, of which $9.3 billion is expected from the private sector, according to civil aviation minister Ajit Singh. These investments would span construction of new airports, expansion and modernisation of the existing ones and development of low-cost airports. India ranks ninth in the global civil aviation market, but it is expected to reach the third position by 2020, with commercial fleet size rising to 1,000 from the current 400.
Inaugurating the fourth edition of ‘India Aviation 2014’ in Hyderabad, Singh said the biggest game-changer was allowing 49% FDI by foreign airlines in Indian carriers. There have been liberal policies regarding bilateral air service agreements, partnerships and code sharing, allowing direct ATF imports by airline operators to attract more investments.
He said India’s air traffic density, at 72, is low compared with other countries. China scores 282, Brazil 231, Malaysia 1,225 and the US 2,896. There is scope to penetrate untapped markets and to promote regional and remote-area connectivity. About 236 million domestic passengers and 85 million international passengers will be handled by Indian airports by 2020, making the country the third-largest aviation market.