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Greenfield airport policy within four months

April 11, 2008 10:02 IST
The government is coming out with a policy for setting up greenfield airports for general aviation in the next three to four months. It is also planning to introduce an air cargo policy soon.

The broad contours of the policy for general aviation, which includes private charters and corporate jet operations, are more or less in line with the merchant airport policy.

"The cost and size of the project will be up to the private entrepreneur who wants to set up the airport. The only difference with the merchant airport policy is that instead of the companies choosing any place, the projects will have to be set up at the major cities first," said KN Srivastava, joint secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The ministry is primarily looking at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, where the first private airports for general aviation should come up.

The general aviation market is expected to see a lot of growth with big players like Kingfisher, GMR, BJets and Reliance set to introduce private charter operations.

The total market for general aviation is estimated at $80 million that is estimated to grow by 25 per cent over the next three years.

The air-cargo policy, among other things, will introduce the concept of a "cargo village" for the growth of the domestic air cargo industry. "It (cargo village) will be a bonded area wherein all the air cargo consignments will be scanned and cleared before being transferred to the airport," said a senior government official.

The policy will also deal with the implementation of electronic data interchange (EDI) in airports for faster clearance of cargo consignments. EDI is a process through which the destination airport gets the details of the cargo consignment coming from the airport of origin much before the cargo flight lands.

This technology is expected to reduce the time taken for clearance of cargo to 10-12 hours for export and 24 hours for import from the current process, which takes a few days.

Though the system is not in place in any airport currently, industry sources said Delhi and Mumbai airports were planning to implement it soon.

According to a Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) study, India ranks among top 30 cargo markets in the world. Cargo volumes have been growing at 10-12 per cent for the last two years. The market is projected to grow 20-30 per cent for the next 10 years.

Anirban Chowdhury in New Delhi