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Centre plans to make India an aviation hub starting with Delhi airport: Scindia

The government has set in motion a plan to transform Indian airports into aviation hubs–beginning with the Delhi airport–to ensure seamless connectivity and minimise connection time between flights, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, reports Mint.

“We are working with stakeholders to look at how we can prepare Delhi airport to become a hub. A consultant will be hired to look at international comparables to see how we can go about doing that, so that is a work in progress,” Scindia said. “We need a concentration of airlines, domestic to international connectivity with that airline, and minimum connect time between those airlines. We need to ensure that the vicissitudes and the volatility in terms of arrival and departures between flights are flattened out.”

The consultant, which is expected to submit a report in the second half of 2023, will consider various aspects needed for the hub, such as the concentration of airlines, domestic to international connectivity, and minimal connection times between airlines. The study will examine practices at airports like Heathrow in London, Dubai, Doha and Singapore.

As India has witnessed a record number of passenger post-Covid and airlines anticipate record travel during the summer, the government has also put in place measures to handle the consistent surge in domestic demand for air travel. “We have crested our pre-covid high of 420,000. Now, we are at 456,000. We are off high season, but we are averaging between 370,000 and 440,000 daily air passengers in the past month. The way I look at it, this October, you are going to be at new highs again, and so we got to plan for October,” he said, adding that the government is also aware of the global supply chain issues hampering aircraft delivery timelines for airlines.

“Now, we have a situation where we have our planes full, and we don’t have enough planes,” he said.
While the supply chain issues will take time to be addressed, Scindia noted the government’s efforts to help the industry by reducing the value-added tax on jet fuel. Currently, 31 states and Union territories have opted for the lower VAT regime of 1-4%, with Maharashtra being the latest addition.

The Ministry is in talks with West Bengal, Delhi, Assam, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar to reduce VAT from the high tax regime of 20-30%.


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