India Wants To Open 100 New Airports By Five Years Time

India wants to open a huge number of airports over the next five years. The ambitious project is just a section is a plan to reignite the growth of India’s economy. With 100 new airports, the country would look to launch 1,000 new routes.

Air India, Indian Airports, Domestic Flights
Air India is the flag carrier of India. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

India has Asia’s third-largest economy. However, its growth has stagnated as of late. As a result, the country’s government is looking into ways to give the economy a kick start. Interestingly, it seems as though the aviation industry could play a huge role in this process, given the ambitious plans to expand it.

How it will work?

According to Bloomberg, three years ago India had 450 runways. However, only 75 of these, in other words just 17%, were operational. Smaller towns began to lose out as airlines favored bigger locations with more traffic. This led to lots of these smaller runways, which were mostly built during the Second World War, closed due to lack of use.

Some of these runways still exist but would need a spring clean and/or some maintenance to become functional and safe to use again. Part of the funding announced by the government could go towards the renovation of previously closed airports.

Air India, Indian Airports, Domestic Flights
Jet Airways left behind a big hole in the Indian air travel market. Photo: Maarten Visser via Flickr

Other incentives

Of course, there is absolutely no point in giving these airports a refresh and building new facilities if they’re not going to be used. As such, Bloomberg also reports that India has a subsidy program to help those operating domestic routes which otherwise may not make sense.

The program can help to offset losses on unprofitable routes. This ensures that the connection will be operated even if it is not profitable, as the airline operating it has nothing to lose themselves. This can keep routes running that would otherwise close down, in turn utilizing the airports.

According to the publication, at the start of this year, 38 destinations were added as a result of this initiative. Additionally, a further 63 airports should be opened up with further contracts that have been awarded.

Air India, Indian Airports, Domestic Flights
Foreign carriers such as AirAsia have moved into the Indian market. Photo: AirAsia.

What this means

The whole point of this plan is to rejuvenate the Indian economy. The economy is currently at its lowest point in six years. This is why the government is spending 1 trillion rupees, or around 14 billion United States dollars, on airport construction across the next five years. The proposal was discussed at a confidential meeting. As such, those spilling the beans asked Bloomberg not to identify them.

Do you think India will be able to open 100 new airports in the next 5 years? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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