The Indian government “is committed” to building up the country’s growing aviation sector, a senior official says, especially in building up airport infrastructure. 

Speaking at the CAPA India Aviation Summit in Delhi on 5 June, civil aviation secretary Vumlunmang Vualnam says the government is looking at converting more airstrips into airports as a brownfield project, or even creating “joint user” airports at existing military air fields. 

CAPA India Civil Aviation Secretary

Source: CAPA India

India civil aviation secretary Vumlunmang Vualnam speaking at the CAPA India Aviation Summit in Delhi.

He notes that airport expansion is “an important building block” in growing the country’s aviation sector. India has 157 commercial airports out of 453 airstrips, with several of them currently inoperative. 

His comments come as the Indian government rolls out a raft of airport upgrading projects across the country, ranging from large international gateways like Delhi, to smaller regional airports. 

Vualnam also lauded the “ambitious expansion plans” of Indian carriers, who in recent months have placed large aircraft orders. IndiGo, for instance, placed its first widebody orders, with commitments for 30 Airbus A350-900s, less than a year after a record order for 500 Airbus narrowbodies. 

“You can be assured that [the Indian government] will be building up an ecosystem that is conducive to further expansion,” says Vualnam. Among other issues, he has pledged to ensure taxation - long a challenge for the Indian aviation sector - “would not be a bottleneck”.