To revive economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, India is planning to open 100 additional airports by 2024, said people with knowledge of the matter. The proposal that includes starting 1000 new routes connecting smaller towns and villages was discussed at a meeting last week to review the infrastructure needed by 2025, they added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is eager to double down on infrastructure projects in a bid to revive growth and achieve a target of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2025 with economic activity at a six-year low and prospects of further slowdown looming.
The government last month cut corporate tax rates to help compete with the likes of Vietnam and Indonesia for investments amid global trade tensions. India’s plans to advance airport development still trails that of China’s that has set the goal of having 450 commercial airports by 2035 almost double the number at the end of 2018.
The announcement also includes boosting the number of locally trained pilots to 600 a year and double the domestic aircraft fleet to 1200 during the people, said the people. The Indian government has committed an investment of 1 trillion rupees to build airports in the next 5 years.
Three years ago, after airlines avoided flying to smaller towns there were only 75 runways active out of the 450. But PM Modi’s subsidy program has helped to add as many as 38 airports to the nation’s aviation map at the start of this year, while contracts. Contracts were given to airlines to start flights to 63 addition airports with no or limited connectivity.
Several companies such as Singapore Airlines Ltd. and AirAsia Bhd. have been attracted to set up local units, provincial taxes in the nation make jet fuel one of the most expensive in the world. The people further stated the government is aware of the high taxation burden and higher jet prices and will rationalize the tax regime as soon as next year.
India is also planning of increasing the use of drones for which it announced a policy this year. It said that it will allow unmanned vehicles to fly beyond the line of sight and considers the number of legal drones reaching a million by 2024, said people.