The civil aviation ministry on Monday said there is no proposal to lease non-operational air strips to pilot training institutions for the purpose of training pilots. There are 35 Flying Training Organisations (FTO) in the country operating from 53 bases that provide aircraft flying training to obtain Commercial Pilot License (CPL). These FTOs have been approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said that in 2021, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) awarded nine FTO slots at five airports at Belagavi (Karnataka), Jalgaon (Maharashtra), Kalaburgi (Karnataka), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh) and Lilabari (Assam).

These slots were awarded through a competitive bidding process.

Last June, 6 FTO slots were awarded at five AAI airports — two at Bhavnagar (Gujarat), and one each at Hubballi (Karnataka), Kadappa (Andhra Pradesh), Kishangarh (Rajasthan) and Salem (Tamil Nadu).

To a query, Mr Singh said, “currently, there is no proposal in the Government to lease non-operational air strips to the pilot training colleges/institutions for the purpose of training of pilots”.

AAI has leased out eight airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram — through Public Private Partnership (PPP) for operation, management and development on long term lease basis.

“Out of these, Delhi and Mumbai airports were handed over in 2006. During the last five years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2021-22, AAI has received revenues of approximately ? 5,500 crore from Delhi Airport and ? 5,174 crore from Mumbai Airport,” the minister said in a separate written reply.

From the other six airports till February 2023, AAI has received concession fees of around ? 896 crore.

“Further, AAI has also received an amount of approximately ? 2,349 crore in the form of upfront fee towards the capital expenditure incurred by AAI at these airports,” he said.

During the PPP process — from March 2018 till handing over the airports to the PPP partner — AAI spent an amount of approximately ? 1,970 crore towards capital works at the the six airports. “This capital expenditure incurred by AAI has been paid to AAI by the PPP partner,” he added.

As per National Monetization Pipeline (NMP), 25 AAI airports have been earmarked for leasing over 2022 to 2025 period.

In another written reply, the minister said that at present, there are 30 operational international airports in the country.