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Non-metro airports on govt radar

New Delhi, Oct. 8: The civil aviation ministry is planning to build 10-15 greenfield airports and modernise 50 others in the non-metro cities over the next few years to give a push to aviation infrastructure.

“About 50 non-metro airports are being modernised within the next two years and overall 10-15 new greenfield airports are being planned,” civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said on the sidelines of the 49th Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation of Asia-Pacific region.

Maintaining that the sector was witnessing an annual growth of 9 per cent, he said, “We expect a double-digit growth in air traffic in the next few years. The huge middle class is growing, trade is growing and India should achieve at least 6 per cent GDP growth now. There may have been a temporary setback as we see a decline now, but air traffic is expected to grow substantially.”

Singh said the government had initiated a process of modernising existing airports and developing greenfield ones through a mix of public sector, private sector, joint ventures and public-private partnerships.

“While airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad had been built with private sector participation, new airports are ready for commissioning in Chennai and Calcutta very soon,” he said, adding that the government now permits up to 100 per cent FDI in greenfield airports.

Singh also urged the Asia Pacific regulators to oppose measures such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), calling it “unilateral”.

“We would request the delegates to oppose any unilateral environment measures imposed by a state or group such as the EU-ETS and work with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) to evolve global environment protection on the basis of equity and consensus,” Singh said.

Singh said the final operational phase and certification of GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo-Augmented Navigation) system, developed jointly by the Airports Authority of India and the Indian Space Research Organisation, was likely to be completed in June 2013.

“GAGAN has a footprint overlapping with European Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) on the West and Japanese SBAS on the East,” he said.

Singh said the Kerala state government’s proposed venture Air Kerala would be allowed to fly abroad if it fulfilled all criteria set by the government. “We will give sympathetic consideration to Air Kerala, but rules and regulations have to be followed,” the minister said.

 
 
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