DELHI: The aviation regulator has requested the Centre to speed up construction of new airport terminals and additional airports near metro cities, voicing concern about an anticipated rise in congestion and lack of infrastructure at major aerodromes.
Officials in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said airports in major cities appeared headed towards a “clogged future” amid plans by domestic airlines to acquire more aircraft and increase passenger load next year, reports The Telegraph.
The DGCA estimates that scheduled commercial airlines are set to add at least 40 new and leased aircraft by next March and an additional 25 aircraft by end-2017. Indian carriers have also lined up delivery of about 550 planes over the next six years.
“Most of the functional airports, particularly in tier I and tier II cities, are operational almost at full capacity. Unless we come up with new terminals and additional airports at these places, things are going to get very difficult,” a DGCA official said.
“We have expressed this concern to the civil aviation ministry through a communiqué.”
On October 4, the DGCA announced the winter schedule for domestic Indian carriers with at least 21 per cent more flights than last year. The winter schedule starts from October 30 and runs till March 26, 2017.
“This has happened because of about 23 per cent rise in domestic traffic this year so far. We expect the trend to continue,” another official said.
An aviation ministry official said when the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme – it aims at bringing smaller cities on the aviation map and making flying affordable for commoners – takes off early next year, airports in bigger cities would further feel the heat.
He said the Airports Authority of India, which operates most airports in the country, had been requesting the DGCA for runway augmentation. But it had not been possible because of current operations at large airports.