Low-cost airports to get priority

New Delhi, Feb. 6: The government today said it would focus on developing low-cost airports in smaller cities.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh today said there was a need for more airports to keep pace with the rise in passenger traffic.

The government had already approved 15 airports and would beef up infrastructure, he added.

The Planning Commission has estimated that passenger traffic in Indian airports will increase to 370 million by 2017 from 230-240 million in 2012. The growth in cargo traffic will also necessitate investments in specialised terminals and equipment.

Independent estimates suggest an additional requirement of 30 airports by 2017 and around 180 airports in the next decade.

"Thus, the growth in passenger and cargo traffic requires significant investments in new airports and revamp of existing ones. There is also a need to improve road and sea links as well as better airspace management," the Planning Commission had said.

It expects an investment of Rs 50,000 crore by private investors and concessionaires in airport projects in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-17).

GMR receives dues

Air India has cleared its dues worth Rs 415 crore to GMR Infrastructure, the operator of Delhi and Hyderabad airports.

The national carrier had got an ultimatum to pay airport charges if it wanted to continue operations.

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