The Airports Authority of India(AAI) has chalked out a plan to invest about Rs. 19,000 crore in upgrading airport infrastructure in the country, especially in smaller cities, in the next three years.
“We are not making investments in just smaller airports but also airports like those in Kolkata and Chennai. While work on upgrade at many airports has begun, work at some of the others will begin soon,” said a senior AAI official, who did not wish to be identified.
The official said the investment is being made in improving runway capacity as well as building terminal capacity.
“We are also building a lot of parking bays at airports like the one in Kolkata to provide enough parking for planes that airlines plan to induct,” said another official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
The state-owned AAI is set to add 273 parking bays at 24 airports to help resolve the impending parking woes of airlines. The slots are evenly distributed across the country, with about 82 in the south, 70 in the east and northeast, 61 in north and 60 in the western part of the country.
Over and above the upgrade plan, the AAI is also working on plans to build new airports in Gujarat’s Rajkot, Jharkhand’s Dhalbhumgarh and in Hollongi and Halwara in the Northeast. “We are seeking funds from market through debt and other modes to fund these projects. Some of the funding will also come from our profits,” said an AAI official.
The AAI has a cash reserve of about Rs. 15,000 crore (including fixed and floating reserves) and the airport operator may leverage the cash reserve to raise money at a competitive rate.
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