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MUMBAI: Major airports such as Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai are at the highest risk of saturation with
increase in number of fliers+
. Smaller airports like Agartala, Dehradun, Guwahati, Jaipur, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Pune, Srinagar and Trichy are already operating beyond their design capacity.
Indian airport system is expected to exceed its maximum structural capacity+
by FY 2022 and this level could be breached earlier if the new airport projects are delayed. Maximum structural capacity is the maximum passengers an airport can handle if all the possible infrastructure and operational improvements are carried out. Beyond this, the only option would be to go for a new airport at a different site.
For airlines, the big challenge would be getting arrival/departure time slots and parking bays. Indian carriers are expected to induct close to 350-400 aircraft over the next five years. “These aircraft will also have to fly somewhere. As metro airports become saturated, airlines will have to deploy more capacity to Tier 2 cities over the next 3 years due to slot constraints,” says the CAPA report. Then there is the parking problem—where will the airlines park their A320s and B737s for night? “Airlines are already facing challenges securing overnight parking bays. This will become increasingly difficult with so many aircraft scheduled for induction over the next 5 years,” the report said.
Kapil Kaul, CEO and director of CAPA-South Asia, terms it a “near-crisis situation”. “Preparing a realistic and executable plan for such massive airport infrastructure development will take a few years,” he said adding that India’s response to such a crisis like situ-ation continues to be ad hoc and inadequate. India will need to construct airports to handle an additional 500-600 million passengers by 2030. The 55 new airports that are estimated to be required by 2030 will need 150,000 to 200,000 acres of land to be allocated for their development. All of this will require USD36-45 billion of investment. “The $45 billion investment number assumes that the government will give land for airport development at subsidized rates,” said Kaul, adding that India urgently needs a new airport development framework.
Over the last three years, domestic passenger traffic has grown at a rate of 18.9%, rising from 61 million to 103 million passengers, in 2017. India is now the third largest domestic market in the world.