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India needs to invest up to $45 billion to create an additional capacity of handling 500-600 million passengers at its airports by 2030 as their capacity is likely to saturate within the next five years, a study by an aviation think-tank said.
This is expected to increase to 431-463 million once the existing airport sites are completely built and achieve their maximum structural capacity.
CAPA notes that airports at Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata will reach their maximum capacity in the next one to five years, i.e. between 2019 and 2022, assuming passenger growth rate is 10 per cent per annum.
Also, 10 airports -- Pune, Jaipur, Srinagar, Lucknow, Dehradun, Agartala, Guwahati, Kozhikode, Mangalore, and Trichy -- managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), are already operating "beyond their design capacity".
Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport's current capacity is 64 to 72.5 million passengers per annum and its maximum structural capacity of 90-100 million passengers per annum is likely to be achieved by FY 2022, assuming a growth rate of 10 per cent.
Similarly, Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport with a maximum capacity of 50-52 million passengers per annum is likely to saturate by FY 2019.
It adds that if new projects are delayed and passenger traffic grows faster than the conservative estimate of 10 per cent, the threshold could be breached earlier than 2022.
"India will need to build an additional 500-600 million capacity by 2030. This will require USD 36-45 billion of investment, including $12-15 billion of equity capital," the report adds.
As airlines begin to induct 350-400 aircraft in the next five years, problems related to unavailability of slots as well as overnight parking bays will get magnified.
"The commission should have responsibility for developing a long-term national airports master plan with a 20-30 year horizon, taking into account central and state economic plans and multi-modal transport connectivity," CAPA proposes.