Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to invest around $30 billion over the next five years to further develop its airports.

Speaking to FlightGlobal during the World Routes forum in Barcelona, I.N Murthy, board member of operations at airports operator, says that the money will be used to further develop unserved airports, as well as to revamp air traffic control towers, runways and passenger terminals at various of its airports.

"For every rupee invested in aviation, it translates into six rupees in employment and another 13 times in related industries down the chain," says Murthy. "We are seeing an average annual growth rate of 7.5% in terms of passenger numbers."

The AAI currently operates 126 airports across India, as well as controls 450 airstrips in the subcontinent.

Of the $30 billion, Murthy says that Rs2.6 billion will be used to expand Chennai International airport.

This includes the expansion of both its domestic and international buildings that will result in an integrated terminal building with an annual passenger handling capacity of 50 million, double the figure at present.

The number of aircraft parking spaces will also be doubled to 80. AAI will also optimise Chennai's runway operations to up to 50 flights per hour, up from the current 36. Murthy explains that that will be done via the building of more taxiways, as well as reviewing the airport's runway operations.

Elsewhere, AAI believes that its Ahmedabad Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International and Guwahati airports can become hubs in the western and northeastern regions, respectively.

"There is so much potential in these areas for domestic and international travel, with Ahmedabad to Middle East and Europe, and Guwahati to Southeast Asia and China."

On the ongoing tenders for Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports, Murthy says that AAI has received a total of 11 bids to operate the airports under a public-private partnership model. He also expects the selection to be made for the respective airports by end-October.

New Delhi has been attempting to privatise the two airports since 2013. In 2016, AAI and Changi Airports International held talks on operating the facilities, however those broke down in June of that year.

Story updated to correct annual growth rate to 7.5% in third paragraph

Source: Cirium Dashboard