Airports Scene In India
Improved aviation infrastructure is imperative for India as it is right now experiencing a tourism boom with foreign arrivals registering a growth of nearly 15% annually. Cargo movements and charters are also on the upswing. The open sky policy has not only resulted in more foreign airlines flying to India but also increase in their frequencies. About seven/eight LCCs have already dotted the Indian skies and their same number is due to start operations within a year or so. About 500 aircrafts are on order with above 50 of them having been already added in the last 12 months. The new Tourism Minister Mrs. Ambika soni has set a target of about 10 million foreign tourists by 2010 adding nearly 5-10 million in the next 5-10 years with medical tourism, adventure tourism, spiritual, rural and sports tourism rising at an unexpected space. WTC says demand in tourism industry is likely to grow by 8.6% per annum between 2006 & 2015.
When the Indian economy is all set to integrate itself into the global economy, the upgradation and modernization of infrastructure and its efficient use have assumed critical importance. Moreover airports represent a country's window on the foreign passengers who form their first impression of the country only on the basis of their quality, facilities and maintenance. And as it is said, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression". Besides the importance of airports is evident from the fact that there are many inaccessible areas in the country which are accessible only through air transport. There are 449 airports/airstrips in the country. They include international airports which are available for scheduled international operations by Indian and foreign carriers. Presently Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Thiruvananathapuram are in this category. International status is also
in the offing for airports in Amritsar, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Bangalore and the projects for the same are in various stages. There are also Custom airports which have customs and immigration facilities for limited international operations by national carriers and for foreign tourist and cargo charter flights. These include Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Calicut, Goa, Varanasi, Patna, Agra, Jaipur, Amritsar and Tiruchirapally. All other airports which are operational fall into the category of domestic airports. There are also 28 civil enclaves in Defence Airfields. It is ironical to note that quite a good number of the above airports are not in use and only a dozen of them are reportedly making profits. It is however, a matter of satisfaction that while work on upgradation and modernization of airports in metro cities - Delhi and Mumbai - is already on, the Centre has identified about 36 non-metro airports for
upgradation and a budget has already been allotted for this purpose. There is congestion at the international airports, particularly at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Goa, Ahmedabad, Cochin and Mangalore. The traffic connecting around certain airports, specially the metropolis has given rise to the situation where some airports are bursting at the seems to accommodate traffic whereas there are others which handle hardly any passenger/cargo traffic.
The reasons for the congestion and its uneven distribution.
Limited Terminal and Apron Capacity
Bunching of Flights
Delay in Passenger Clearance