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India To Spend $12 Bn On Airports Over Next Two Years As Tourism Recovers

The world's fastest-growing aviation industry intends to increase the number of airports from 148 to 220 by 2025, with private builders investing approximately USD 9 billion

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Over the next two years, India will spend approximately 980 billion rupees (USD 12 billion) on airports, with airline orders for hundreds of new planes to meet resurgent travel demand placing strain on existing infrastructure.

The world's fastest-growing aviation market plans to increase the number of airports from 148 to 220 by 2025, with private builders investing about USD 9 billion and the state-run Airports Authority of India contributing the remainder. It entails new terminals, greenfield projects, and the renovation of existing facilities, including old military airfields from colonial times.

Despite the fact that the country's total fleet of 700 aircraft — United Airlines operates more — existing airports in key cities such as Delhi and Mumbai are running out of parking and landing slots.

The move comes as India asserts itself more broadly on the global stage, buoyed by a growing consumer base and economic growth in the USD 3.2 trillion economies that is on pace to surpass China's. The nation has already made its imprint in aviation, with Air India announcing the largest deal in commercial aviation history last month. For many years, Boeing and Airbus SE have sourced components from India.

According to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who starts off the three-day CAPA India Aviation Summit on Monday, India wants to be a powerhouse in air transport. From 2022 to 2041, Boeing predicts that India's passenger traffic will increase at a nearly 7 per cent annual rate, compared to 4.9 per cent in China.

“Growth in aviation infrastructure will bring a huge amount of economic upside and new airports will improve the quality of life for most people in India,” said Jayant Mukhopadhaya, a researcher at the International Council of Clean Transportation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to make India a world-class connecting hub as well as a tourist and business destination. His development plan includes air connections between smaller cities.

Air India, which is owned by the country's largest conglomerate Tata Group, has ordered 470 planes, while IndiGo, the country's largest airline, is anticipated to make a larger order. Others are also beefing up their ships.

With these new purchases, India is attempting to catch up to larger aviation markets such as China. According to Cirium data, Asia's third-largest economy has over 1,400 aircraft on sale, including letters of intent that are less firm than an outright acquisition. That's nearly twice as many as China, which plans to nearly double its airport capacity to 450 by 2035. China now has a considerably larger fleet than India.

Adani Group's 2,866-acre airport in Navi Mumbai, which will manage 90 million passengers by 2036, is one of India's major airport developments. Zurich Airport International AG is also developing a new facility in New Delhi with an ultimate capacity of 70 million travellers. Other greenfield runways will be built in Karnataka, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh.

Tags assigned to this article:
aviation sector tourism sector