News & Events

India Airports Conference 2010

January 2011
The recently held India Airports Conference highlighted key issues affecting the growth of the aviation sector.

Airports' economic regulation would be on a price cap basis, Sandeep Prakash, the Secretary of the newly established Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERAI), told a gathering of airport-industry professionals and policymakers. Speaking at the India Airports Conference 2010 in the national capital on 1,2010 December, Prakash reiterated that the regulation would be 'single-till', attracting a price-cap on tariffs based on a combination of aero and non-aero revenues. He said combining the two kinds of revenues would probably bring down user development fees (UDF) and passenger fees (PSF). The single-till regulation was on the cards since AERAI's previous announcement in this regard earlier this year.

Kapil Kaul, CEO, CAPA, said that such regulation is needed in the country.

The pressing agenda for Indian airports lies in simultaneously gearing up, somewhat reactively, for the surge of capacity addition in passenger and cargo, and sprucing up the levels of efficiencies.

The airports conference deliberated on how capacity addition and efficiency can about complement each other. Speakers discussed how to achieve the goal of adding capacity while being as efficient as possible.

GK Chaukiyal, Member, Operations, Airports Authority of India (AAI), said that "expansion of capacity is already underway in many ways, and the Aircraft Acquisition Committee receives about 25 requests each month for new aircraft. The number of aircraft has grown from 225 in 2000 to 735 this year, and projected to grow to 1,200 by 2015. He hoped that this kind of capacity addition would help reduce the population-per-aircraft ratio. At 2.89 million per aircraft, India tops the world list for that ratio."

Robey Lal, Aviation Planning Advisor, Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats, asked "Is it possible to accurately match capacities with user demand for economic operations?" Not in reality, he said, calling it the Capacity Myth. Arun Chandran, Project Director, Delhi International Airport (DIAL), and Director, Project Management, Brinckerhoff, made a case for developing airports through strategic planning and management.

Subrato Paul, CEO, Bengal Aerot-ropolis (BAPL), which is developing an airport at Durgapur in collaboration with Singapore's Changi airport and the first of its kind in India to complete financial closure and land acquisition, shared his experience of building greenfield airports in non-urban areas, and maintained that "if modern day cities are to compete in an economy based on efficient systems, they need to be built around airports." He said filling the aviation need with the urbanisation gap was an effective way to maintain inclusive growth. "Think of airports in smaller cities alone," Paul said, "and only coupled with city-side development."

Vidya Basarkod, CEO, Reliance Airports Developers, said that the government should support its private partners in overcoming viability issues, perhaps through cost-sharing in security, CNS/ATM, tax exemptions or reductions on ATF, and so on. Uttar Pradesh's Tourism Secretary Awanish Awasthi discussed the difficulties of attracting a partner to build and operate the Kushinagar airport on the Nepal border.

Pratap Padode, Managing Director, a ASAPP Media Said, "The theme of our conference," embodies the need in our airport sector, where the journey to progress has begun."

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