Hyderabad, February 03, 2018: Union Budget for 2018 aims at providing affordable air travel to common man. The Budget proposes to expand the airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year under a new initiative called NABH Nirman. Under the Regional connectivity scheme of Udan (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) initiated by the government last year, 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads would be connected.
The civil aviation ministry will receive an increased budgetary allocation of Rs 6,602.86 crore in the next financial year, with a significant chunk kept aside for purchase of “two new aircraft” to be used for VVIP flights. Debt-laden Air India, for which the government has started the process of disinvestment, would receive a budgetary support of Rs 650 crore under the turnaround plan in 2018-19. The allocation is nearly three times higher than the amount of Rs 2,710.31 crore allocated to the ministry for this fiscal according to deccanchronicle.com.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget presentation said that the balance sheet of Airport Authority of India will be leveraged to raise more resources for funding expansion works. “In our 20-year passenger forecasts, IATA anticipates India will become the third largest aviation market by 2024. “But this is by no means is guaranteed. Airport capacity in India needs to be augmented and expanded quickly,” said Amitabh Khosla, country director — India, International Air Transport Association (IATA).