Govt clears Delhi airport’s expansion plan, Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma

New Delhi: Government has approved the expansion plan for the international airport in the national capital that would see addition of fourth runway as well as increase its passenger handling capacity.

The international aerodrome in the national capital is operated by Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd — a public private partnership where diversified group GMR, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Germany’s Fraport are the stakeholders.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said the Delhi international airport has made a target of having the fourth runway in three years. This would increase the facility for cargo as well as for services to all domestic and international passengers, he added.

“… The government has already cleared the expansion plan,” Sharma said.

He was speaking at a function organised by DIAL to felicitate its stakeholders for making the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport the world’s number one airport — in the 25-40 million passengers per annum category — for the second consecutive year.

It has been recognised as the number one airport in this category by the Airport Council International (ACI).

GMR Group Chairman GM Rao said Delhi airport’s current capacity to handle 62 million passengers per annum and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo makes it ideally suited to serve the growth of Indian aviation.

“The airport has the ability to expand to 109 million passengers per annum and 2.2 million tonnes of cargo,” he added.

According to Sharma, out of the 484 airports in the country, only around 84 are being used.

“We are coming up with a regional connectivity scheme, where tier 2 and tier 3 cities will be connected by the flights where the ticket price will not be crossing more than Rs 2,500 for a one-hour flight,” he noted.

In the last three months alone, the passenger growth has been almost 25 per cent.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said there is a need for much more robust security system.

“We will need to have much more coordinated efforts so that we have a complete robust security system in place, I personally feel that the security of aviation is directly proportional to the security of the nation. We have to ensure that all our airports are safe,” he said.

Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said a beginning was made with the public private partnership model of DIAL.

“Government has no business to be in business. We have other businesses to do…,” he noted.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju also spoke.