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The civil aviation ministry under the Modi government is looking at developing more airstrips as well as calibrating regulations for major and small airports to boost air connectivity, a senior official said today.

India is one of the fastest growing civil aviation markets in the world, with domestic air traffic on the rise and airlines expanding their fleet as well as operations. Civil Aviation Secretary Vumlunmang Vualnam said the number of airports in the country has increased to 157 from 74 in the last ten years.

The ministry has reviewed the full list of 453 airstrips in the country and around 157 of them are operational, he said and added that more airstrips would be developed as brownfield projects.

Also, efforts will be made to jointly develop more defence airfields for civil aircraft operations.

Speaking at the CAPA India Aviation Summit 2024 in the national capital, the secretary said the ministry would look at calibrating regulations for major and small airports.

These are steps aimed at further boosting air connectivity, especially to Tier 2 and 3 cities.

IndiGo and Air India have placed huge aircraft orders, including for wide-body planes.

The ministry would ensure a conducive ecosystem for airlines and their expansion. Among others, the ministry is working to ensure that “taxation would not be a bottle neck” for the MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) organisations, the secretary said.

With efforts on globally to reduce carbon emissions, Vualnam said the government is committed to ensure the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to keep pace with the requirements.

With respect to the Cape Town Convention (CTC) that pertains to leasing of aircraft, he said the paper work is ready for enacting the legislation in order for India to ratify it.In its outlook for FY2024-25, Capa India said domestic air traffic is projected to rise 6-8 per cent to 161-164 million and international traffic by 9-11 per cent to 75-78 million.