AAI And Other Operators’ Target Capital Outlay Of Rs. 98,000 Crore To Meet Growing Air Traffic Demands

Capital outlay to be used to construct Greenfield Airports and new terminals, expansion and modernisation among other activities

Expansion and development of infrastructure facilities at the airports is a continuous process and is undertaken by Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other Airport Operators from time to time depending on the availability of land, commercial viability, socio-economic considerations, traffic demand / willingness of airlines to operate to/from such airports. To meet the growing air traffic demands, AAI and other Airport Operators have targeted capital outlay of approximately Rs. 98,000 crore in the airport sector during 2019-2024 for construction of Greenfield Airports and new terminals, expansion and modernisation of existing terminals and strengthening of runways, among other activities.

There is a systematic safety oversight process in place for monitoring the compliance of Rules and Civil Aviation Requirements by the airlines. This is a continuous process and includes surveillances, spot checks and regulatory audits embodied in Annual Surveillance Plan (ASP) of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The findings of safety oversight exercises are communicated to the concerned operator for compliance and the observations are closed only after due verification. The compliance of the action taken by the operator is verified during the next audit/ surveillance. In case of any violations/ non-compliance to regulations detected during audit/ surveillance, enforcement action including financial penalty is imposed by the DGCA.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is committed to achieving Sustainable Aviation in collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), following the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). MoCA strives to achieve the same under the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, which aims to limit CO2 emissions in Indian aviation. The Government has implemented several measures to reduce aviation emissions and their impact on environment, such as:

i. Airport operators and developers are advised by MoCA to strive for carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions and to adopt carbon mitigation measures and develop carbon management plans. Airports have implemented various practices to reduce their carbon footprint, such as utilizing renewable energy, optimizing operational procedures and schedules and incorporating alternative fuels in ground handling vehicles. Additionally, airports are transitioning to 100 % green energy, with 55 airports, including 49 managed by Airports Authority of India (AAI), currently operating on 100% green energy.

ii. DGCA has issued the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR), Section 10 titled ‘Aviation Environmental Protection,’ Series B, Part I. This requirement outlines the general procedures and practices that stakeholders should follow to minimize aviation emissions and their impact on climate change.

iii. Airlines have implemented measures to reduce their carbon footprint, such as reducing aircraft weight, preventing moisture and dirt accumulation on aircraft, and optimizing speed and flap management.

iv. AAI, in consultation with the Indian Air Force, has optimized airspace utilization through the Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA) initiative, resulting in a reduction of CO2 emissions.

v. AAI has introduced initiatives to reduce the use of energy intensive equipment in existing and upcoming airport projects. They have published Energy Intensity Data and created a training module for Air Traffic Controllers to raise awareness about carbon neutrality as part of their induction training program.

Ministry of Civil Aviation launched Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) on 21.10.2016 to stimulate regional air connectivity and make air travel affordable for the masses. The UDAN scheme envisages providing connectivity to unserved and underserved airports of the country through revival of the existing airstrips and airports. 479 UDAN routes involving 74 Airports/Heliports/Water Aerodromes have been operationalised across the country as on 12.07.2023. The Government has set a target to operationalise 1000 UDAN routes during the currency of the scheme and to revive/develop 100 unserved & underserved airports/heliports/water aerodromes in the country by 2024 for operation of UDAN flights.

DGCA, the aviation safety regulator, publishes Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs) to ensure airport safety, while the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) issues AvSec orders and circulars to strengthen airport security in line with the guidelines set by ICAO. In order to enhance airport safety and security, several measures are being taken such as:

i. Emphasis is placed on using advanced technologies such as Computer Tomography Explosive Detection Systems (CT-EDS) machines, Dual Generator X-BIS machines, and Automated Tray Retrieval System (ATRS) to enhance the security infrastructure at airports

ii. Directions have been issued for Minimum Technical specification for Perimeter

Intrusion Detection System (PIDS)

iii. Full Body Scanners at airports are planned in a phased manner

iv. Radiological Detection Equipment (RDE) at Indian Airports are planned in phased manner. Biometric Centralized Access Control Systems have been launched in 48 Airports

v. The regulatory authority offers comprehensive training guidelines for security personnel working in airport security units, aircraft operators, and other regulated agencies. Moreover, Aviation Security Group personnel undergo regular training to develop soft skills, communication proficiency, and behavioral aspects, ensuring a secure and seamless travel experience for passengers

This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Gen. (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd) in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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