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AAI Unveils to Add 160 Aircraft Parking Bays Across Indian Airports

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is gearing up to bolster air connectivity with a plan to add 160 aircraft parking bays across 27 airports in the next two years. This expansion aims to meet the surging demand for air travel, especially as domestic carriers like Air India and IndiGo have sizable orders for approximately 1,500 aircraft set for delivery over the next decade. The fiscal year 2024 is expected to witness the induction of around 100 new aircraft by domestic airlines.

AAI’s strategy involves constructing 104 parking bays at 16 airports by the conclusion of 2023 and an additional 56 bays at 11 airports in 2024. These parking bays will cater to Code ‘C’ type aircraft, spanning from ATR-72 to Airbus A321. Airports with significant domestic passenger traffic, such as Amritsar, Goa (Dabolim), Kolkata, and Patna, are slated to receive extra aircraft parking bays. Amritsar and Kolkata will see these additions in 2023, while Goa and Patna will follow suit the next year. Moreover, airports like Leh, Raipur, and Tirupati will also benefit from this expansion, with Leh Airport’s development being especially critical due to its limited operating window influenced by challenging weather conditions.

Notably, this expansion plan encompasses airports in Datia and Rewa (both in Madhya Pradesh) and Solapur (Maharashtra), even though these locations lack scheduled airline flights. Industry experts have emphasized the importance of increasing capacity at tier-II airports, especially in alignment with the government’s regional connectivity scheme. Suggestions have been made to complement the addition of parking bays with services such as night landings and round-the-clock air traffic support at smaller airports.

Kapil Kaul, CEO (South Asia) of aviation consultancy CAPA, has projected that the combined fleet size of Indian airlines will double to 1,400 aircraft by fiscal year 2030, necessitating an additional 600-700 aircraft parking bays in the country. While capacity constraints at major airports are not expected until FY30, it’s crucial for AAI to prioritize the construction of parking bays at airports that align with airlines’ operational and commercial needs.

In FY23, AAI achieved a record capital expenditure of Rs 51.75 billion, encompassing initiatives to expand airport facilities, upgrade technology, and enhance operational efficiency.

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