The Civil Aviation Ministry last week made public the Modi government’s plan to drastically boost regional air connectivity, an attempt that if successful will revive wasting and abandoned aviation infrastructure while proving to be a major shot in the arm for regional tourism and commerce.
While the decision to cap regional air-fares is being sold and viewed in some quarters as a populist or aam-aadmi measure, according to experts and industry insiders The Wire spoke with, it will also be a test of how well the Modi government will be able to conquer the white elephants it has been saddled with and ultimately a test of the prime minister’s infrastructure-driven growth strategy.
From 2009, by a number of estimates, the country’s central governments have spent over $50 million on eight airports that currently do not receive scheduled flights. The most well-known case is the Jaisalmer airport, which cost over $17 million to build but never operated any scheduled flights.
“Across India, it’s easy to see the end results of the previous government’s plan to open 200 no-frill airports as a means of boosting regional connectivity. They [the airports] are all, for the most part, in various states of disuse. They were opened up due to political pressures, with various local parties thinking if you opened up an airport in a town, flights would automatically follow,” one aviation analyst who helped in drafting the document said. Michael Grabner Authentic JerseyShare This