With IATA forecasting that India could become the world’s third largest aviation market by 2024, the country’s finance minister Arun Jaitley has proposed additional funding for the Ministry of Civil Aviation as part of the 2018-19 budget.
Domestic traffic in India has grown by by 18% per annum over the last three years, and local airlines have ordered more than 900 new aircraft. Government officials believe the major challenge inhibiting a five-fold increase in passenger journeys from 150m expected in FY19, to a target of 1bn per year, is airport capacity. Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai airports have been privatised, but many of the 124 airfields managed by Airports Authority of India need to be modernised and expanded. Under a new initiative – NABH (New Generation Airports for Bharat) Nirman – $170m will be allocated to the Ude Deshka Aam Nagrik (Udan) regional air connectivity scheme established in 2016. It will be used to fund infrastructure improvements and new services to 56 unserved airports and 31 helipads.