Civil Aviation gets wings

New Delhi, February 03, 2018: The Budgetary allocation for the Civil Aviation Ministry has been almost tripled to Rs. 6,602.86 crore for 2018-19, with about 67% of the funds being provisioned for the purchase of two new aircraft for VVIP flights.

A total of Rs. 4,469.50 crore has been provisioned for “purchase of two new VVIP aircraft for special extra section flight operations,” as per the Budget document.

The government also announced a new initiative — NABH Nirman — under which it proposes to expand airport capacity in the country by more than five times to handle a billion trips a year. “Balance sheet of AAI [Airports Authority of India] shall be leveraged to raise more resources for funding this expansion,” said Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister according to

SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said NABH Nirman could take the number of airports in India to 700 from about 125 airports today.

In the last three years, domestic air passenger traffic grew at 18% a year and the airline companies placed orders for more than 900 aircraft.

On regional connectivity scheme UDAN, Mr. Jaitley said 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads across India would be connected. “Even those who wear hawai chappal (flip flops) can now travel by hawai jahaj (airplane),” he said. The government has increased the allocation to fund the scheme by five times to Rs. 1,014 crore.

“This proposal is for revival of 50 airports and viability gap funding for north-east connectivity,” the Budget document said.

An amount of Rs. 650 crore is proposed to be invested in the State carrier, Air India, for which disinvestment process is being kicked off during the next financial year. This allocation stood at Rs. 1,800 crore for 2017-18.

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