Focused on World- Class Infrastructure
With Airports Authority of India’s focus on commitments on modernization of Airports, there has been a boost in development of infrastructure, air traffic and cargo activities at AAI airports across the nation. Additionally, AAI is now focusing on the regional connectivity, says R K Srivastava.
What is the present position of development of AAI airports? Are there any plans to connect more cities?
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has completed development of two metro airports – Chennai and Kolkata – and 33 non metro airports viz Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Agartala, etc.
Additionally, 14 airports have been developed in small cities that include Cooch Behar, Kadapa, Dimapur, Gondia, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and such others.
A greenfield airport in Pakyong (Sikkim) is under construction.
Under the draft National Civil Aviation Policy 2015, government intends to enhance the regional connectivity by various measures including reviving of unserved/ underserved airports. AAI is fully geared up to undertake the same.
How has the revenue been over the past year?
In the last concluded financial year 2014-15, air traffic at Indian airports reached to 190 million passengers, 1.60 million aircraft movements and 2.5 million metric tonnes of cargo indicating growth of 12.6 pc in pax,4.3pc in the aircraft movements and 11 pc in cargo over the previous year.
From April to July of the current financial year, the growth in passenger traffic further improved to 18 pc due to significant growth of 21.6 pc in domestic passenger traffic. Growth in aircraft movement has also increased to 8.1 pc.
This has thrown new challenges for understanding rapid development of civil aviation sector in India.
Why did AAI begin privatising some of its larger airports?
With the opening of India’s airspace to private and international operators, the existing airport infrastructure in the country was found to be inadequate to cope up with the unprecedented growth in the traffic and cargo. Therefore, in 2006, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) decided to augment and modernise existing airports and also to develop new Greenfield airports to world class standard. AAI, in the interest of the better management of the airport and overall public interest, granted some of its functions of operating, maintaining, developing, designing, constructing, upgrading, modernisation, financing and managing the airport to the JVC (a special purpose vehicle incorporated under Companies Act, 1956) for Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, New Delhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji International (CSI) Airport, Mumbai. Further, Green Field Airports were developed at Shamsabad in Hyderabad, Telangana and Devanahalli in Bengaluru, Karnataka, through PPP mode.
The DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) is operating the IGI Airport in Delhi, in which along with AAI, GMR group is major shareholder. Similarly, at Mumbai, MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Limited) operates CSI Airport in Mumbai, in which along with AAI, the GVK group is a major shareholder.
What is the status of airports in North East region (NER)? How do you see the development of airports in this region vis a vis their profitability?
There are 11 operational airports and 12 non-operational airports in the NER. A greenfield airport is under construction in Pakyong (Sikkim) and another is proposed at Holongi, Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh). Guwahati, Agartala and Imphal are the busiest airports in North East. Guwahati and Imphal are international airports but the international operation are yet to pick up.
We have heard that recently few of your airports have been rated best in the world. What are those airports and who benchmark these airports ?
Based on the results of the survey carried by Airport Council International (ACI), on Airport Service Quality (ASQ), AAI’s Jaipur and Lucknow airports are rated number one and two in the world in the category of 2-5 million pax per annum (mppa) by size for the year 2015. Jaipur airport is also awarded best airport by region and size for Asia Pacific in 2-5 mppa category.
AAI’s employees have made persistent efforts to improve the service quality at its airports and the results have placed AAI amongst the best service providers in the world as AAI’s four airports are amongst the top five airports in the category of 2-5 mppa with Goa and Trivandrum airports at fourth and fifth positions respectively. In the category of airports upto 2 mppa, AAI’s Srinagar airport has also been rated second best airport in the world.
What in your assessment is the status of infrastructure and connectivity at the airports? Any plans for development of infrastructure for business and general aviation and also for helicopter operations?
AAI has already modernised, upgraded and expanded a number of operational non metro airports in the country. In addition to this, two metro airports at Chennai and Kolkata have also been modernised and upgraded. In many of these airports integrated terminal buildings of adequate capacity are constructed to handle international passengers as and when the demand arises. The facilities in the operational areas are all satisfying the international standards. Based on the potential and requests from the airlines, these airports can be put into international operations by providing the customs, immigration and health services by the government of India.
Under the Civil Aviation Policy 2015, government has plans to develop airports in Tier II & Tier III cities in order to promote regional and remote area connectivity. For this purpose AAI is coordinating with various State governments for provision of land and other logistic support. MoUs for developing Deoghar and Raigarh airports have been signed with the state governments of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh respectively. MoU has also been signed with state government of UP (Uttar Pradesh) for development of airports and new civil enclaves at Agra, Allahabad, Bareilly, Kanpur, Meerut, Faizabad and Moradabad. The required land for the expansion and development are yet to come. AAI plans to construct greenfield airports in collaboration with the state governments to bring more places under the aviation map of India.
General aviation (GA) plays diverse roles such as chartering, air- taxiing, training, ferrying passengers, cargo hauling, and operating as medivac. There are about 800 small aircraft and 300 helicopters in the GA fleet in the country. Business aviation comes under GA. Industry sources indicate that around 300 business jets, 300 small aircraft and 250 helicopters are going to be added in the current GA fleet by the year 2017. Presently, the existing airport infrastructure is being utilised for general aviation purposes. Airports at Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru have separate terminals for handling general aviation. The Juhu and Begumpet (Hyderabad) airports are presently used exclusively for GA.
There is a need to develop separate airports/heliports for GA in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru as the main airports have heavy scheduled air traffic. As a result general aviation flights suffer badly in getting the time slots and apron for their operation. A dedicated airport for GA can serve them better postponing the saturation.
How has the modernisation been at AAI airports?
AAI has completed modernisation of about 60 airports in the country including two metro airports. The construction of terminal buildings in these airports are mostly steel and glass structures with large spans and flexibility in layout planning so as to ensure smooth maneuverability for the passengers and large ambience to the terminals. The capacity of the terminal buildings is in accordance with the norms for optimum utilisation of space. These terminal buildings are equipped with state- of-the-art facilities and are aimed to improve the passenger safety and comfort. Care has been taken to facilitate differently-abled, elderly passengers and children by providing user-friendly ramps, separate toilets, child care rooms, etc.
For automation of the terminal and apron operations, AAI has established the common user IT infrastructure with Common User Terminal Equipment (CUTE), Common Use Self-Service Kiosks (CUSS) and overall integration of all systems through establishment of Airport Operational Control Centres (AOCC) at airports. On the baggage front also, AAI is implementing the Baggage Re-conciliation System (BRS) for facilitating faster baggage handling and re-conciliation at all major airports of AAI. The baggage drop facility and self-baggage checking through self-service kiosks have also been introduced. AAI is also providing limited period free Wi- Fi at major airports to passengers for providing them internet connectivity during transit through the AAI airport.
Sensor controlled elevators, escalators, Passengers Boarding Bridges (PBBs) with Advanced Visual Docking Guidance System (AVDGS) and Walkalators are being provided in the new terminal buildings to ease the passenger movement and reduce the chaos. BMS controlled Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System is being adopted in the terminal building to have better temperature control for comfort of passengers and to have energy efficiency.
AAI amongst the best service provider – ACI survey
AAI’s persistent efforts to improve the services and passenger facilities at its airports have placed AAI amongst the best service provider in the world. AAI’s four airports are amongst the top five airports in the category of 2 to 5 million passengers per annum across the world.
Jaipur Airport has also been rated as the best airport by “Regions & Size” in the Asia Pacific Region in the category of 2 to 5 million passengers per annum. AAI’s Goa and Trivandrum Airports are at fourth and fifth positions in the same category.
In the category of airports upto 2 million passengers per annum AAI’s Srinagar Airport has been rated as the second best airport in the World.
All the 11 airports where ACI’s ASQ survey is carried out AAI’s Airport are rated above the world average, i.e., 4.13 on a scale of 5.