India to invest $3.5 billion in airport infrastructure, privatisation in the offing

Photo: India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Telangana Minister r for Information Technology, Electronics and Communications K. T. Rama Rao at the ‘Wings India 2020’ curtain raiser event in New Delhi yesterday.

New Delhi: India’s civil aviation sector is expected to show robust growth with the government planning an investment of $3.5 billion in improving airport infrastructure across the country, even as the aircraft fleet is poised to soon be 2,000-strong.

At an event here yesterday to mark the curtain raiser for the ‘Wings India 2020‘ aviation event to be held in Hyderabad in March, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri noted that Indian civil aviation sector is slated for structured privatisation programme. India is pursuing a disinvestment programme for the flagship, state-owned carrier Air India and has already begun the process.

‘Wings India 2020’, a four-day flagship event of Indian civil aviation industry, will be hosted as usual at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad from Mar. 12 to 15.

“India, being the third largest domestic civil aviation market in the world, is showing a robust growth and is poised for greater heights,” Puri said. “With the kind of fleet expansion underway, India will soon have about 2,000 civil aviation aircraft in the sky.

“We will be doubling the number of airports with Airports Authority of India (AAI) readying to invest more than Rs 25,000 crore ($3.5 billion) in airport infrastructure and we have a structured privatisation programme in place.”

Telangana Minister for Information Technology, Electronics and Communications K. T. Rama Rao was present at the event along with Heads of Missions of foreign countries in India, apart from the Ministry of Civil Aviation officials.

This year’s aviation show theme is ‘Flying for All‘ and will be an international platform focused on new business acquisition, investments, policy formation and regional connectivity in civil aviation industry.

“Wings India 2020 is a platform for the aviation fraternity to discuss challenges along with new developing growth spots that can be targeted to ensure a positive curve. The aviation sector will provide win-win opportunities for not just players within the country but also abroad,” Puri said at the event.

“Privatisation will strengthen the civil aviation sector and will contribute towards its massive expansion. In the coming years, Delhi and the upcoming Jewar airports combined will be bigger than any other airport in the world.”

This year’s show will be an opportunity to address challenges of the civil aviation sector, highlight fuel efficiency, reliable and capable airplanes, enabling airlines in India to open new routes and stay profitable in this ever-competitive market, he said.

Expressing delight in hosting the civilian air show in the state’s capital, Rao said Hyderabad has the potential to become a hub for the civil aviation sector in the coming years. “We are sure that the exhibition of such a prestigious stature will give adequate stimulus to the local economy.”

Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, in his address, said the air show aims to bring all players, facilitators and regulators of aviation fraternity under one roof to explore opportunities together. “It’s a platform for all civil aviation sector stakeholders to achieve greater synergies; learn from best practices of each other.

Wings India 2020, said to be one of Asia’s key and popular gathering of the civil aviation industry, is organized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the industry body, FICCI. The event is expected to attract top leaders, special invitees in foreign ministers for civil aviation and global Chief Executive Officers, suppliers, strategic partners, and organisations.

Video: Wing India 2020 curtain raiser event

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