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  • The past few years have witnessed a number of positive developments in the civil aviation sector. The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) was finally put into place and India emerged as the fastest growing aviation market, with passenger traffic increasing by 17.6 per cent in 2015-16. This growth rate is being maintained in 2016-17, with traffic growing at 18.8 per cent during the period April to August. According to AAI, over the next two years, traffic is projected to grow at 14 per cent per annum to reach 290 million by 2017-18.

  • On the policy front, the foreign direct investment (FDI) norms for air transport services have been relaxed. Foreign investors, barring overseas airlines, are now permitted to hold 100 per cent stake in domestic scheduled air transport and regional air transport services. Further, 100 per cent FDI in brownfield projects has been permitted through the automatic route

  • The biggest recent development has been the award of the Mopa International Airport project in Goa to GMR Airports Limited. The development brings hope for the greenfield airport segment where, apart from Kannur and Shirdi, progress has been limited. The Navi Mumbai airport project, the largest planned investment in the sector, is still at the bidding stage

  • Meanwhile, several metro airports have launched second phases of expansion. While the Chennai project is under tendering, Bengaluru airport has begun preliminary works for its expansion. Plans for capacity augmentation at the Delhi and Hyderabad airports are awaiting government approval.

  • AAI has commissioned a number of new terminal buildings at airports such as Mohali, Khajuraho, Kadapa and Tirupati, while expansions are under way at several others. Going forward, AAI plans to add 70 mppa of capacity by 2020-21

  • Major strides have been taken in adopting state-of-the-art technologies such as GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN), Central Air Traffic Flow Management (CATFM) and automation systems for air traffic control. The area navigation (RNAV) and global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based procedures have been implemented to reduce fuel burning and, in turn, carbon emissions.

  • There is a consistent focus on sustainability at airports. AAI is in the process of installing 50 MW of solar plants at select airports by February 2017. Overall, as of February 2016, AAI had awarded solar power projects totalling 23.6 MW at a cost of Rs 1.63 billion.

  • On the flip side, operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts for the Ahmedabad and Jaipur non-metro airports are yet to be awarded. The MoU signed with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise to operate and maintain the airports was terminated in April 2016. The government needs to identify how and where private participation can be facilitated at non-metro locations to ease capacity constraints.

  • Nonetheless, AAI's comprehensive infrastructure development plan, involving a capital expenditure outlay of Rs 17.5 billion for the next five years, is a positive sign for the capacity-constrained sector.

The mission of this conference is to highlight the recent trends and developments in the sector, discuss the new policy initiatives and examine the way forward. The conference will also showcase key projects and relevant technologies for construction, operations and asset management.

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