Airports of state-owned AAI are leased out in the public interest for their better management, and the revenue received from them is also utilised for the development of airport infrastructure across the country, Union Minister VK Singh said on Monday.
Currently, there are 13 airports that are being operated under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. Out of them, 8 airports belong to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the remaining 5 belong to the respective state governments.
"Implementation of PPP at airports has been a success story... PPP at airports has also helped AAI in enhancing its revenues and focusing on developing airports at Tier-II and Tier-III cities," Singh, who is the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, told Rajya Sabha.
In written replies, he said that airports of AAI are leased out in the public interest for their better management, utilising private sector efficiency and investment.
There are 146 operational airports, water aerodromes and heliports. Till 2014, there were 74 operational airports, the minister said.
The 13 PPP airports are Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Mangaluru, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Kannur and Durgapur.
In FY 2020-21, Delhi and Mumbai airports reported a loss of Rs 317.41 crore and Rs 331.64 crore, respectively, as per the data provided by the minister in the House.
As per National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), 25 airports of AAI have been earmarked for leasing over the 2022-25 period.
"For the construction and upgradation of airports, AAI has incurred capex of Rs 2,504.38 crore in 2017-18, Rs 4,297.44 crore in 2018-19, Rs 4,713.49 crore in 2019-20, Rs 4,350 crore in 2020-21 and Rs 3,724.34 crore in 2021-22," Singh said.
The minister noted that the government is proactively supporting the aviation sector by providing a stable policy environment and incentivising competition-led growth. India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world and is already the third-largest domestic aviation market, he added.
Among other initiatives, the government has approved a scheme for the revival and development of 100 unserved and under-served airports, helipads and water aerodromes by 2024.
Under the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN, Singh said 453 routes have commenced, operationalising 70 airports, including 2 water aerodromes, 9 heliports and 7 greenfield airports.
"UDAN is a self-financing Scheme. Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of Rs 2,218 crore has been disbursed to the Selected Airline Operators (SAOs) for operating UDAN flights in the country so far," he said.
So far, more than 2.15 lakh UDAN flights have been operated in the country. UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) was launched in October 2016.