The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) attained several milestones in the year 2023 as the sector attained new wings and expanded at a high speed. Some of the major achievements of MoCA are indicated below:

RCS-UDAN: RCS-UDAN was launched in 2016 to enable air operations on unserved/underserved routes connecting different regions, promote balanced regional growth and make flying affordable for masses. RCS-UDAN is a self- financing scheme, with a nominal levy for each departure on main (trunk) routes to cross subsidize the operations of UDAN flights.

In all 60 New RCS routes commenced w.e.f 01 January, 2023 to 21 December, 2023, six airports -Rourkela, Hollongi, Jamshedpur, Cooch Behar, Utkela & Shivamogga – operationalized, 12 new RCS routes commenced in North Eastern States in the country and 154 New RCS Routes awarded under UDAN 4.2 & 5.0.

Digi Yatra: Digi yatra is a project conceived to achieve contactless, seamless processing of passengers at Airports based on Facial Recognition Technology (FRT).  The project basically envisages that any traveller may pass through various check points at the airport through paperless and contactless processing using facial features to establish the identity.  Passenger can enroll on the platform from the comfort of their home. So far, over 35 lakh users have downloaded the Digi Yatra app.

The Digi Yatra has been launched at following 13 airports – Delhi, Bengaluru and Varanasi, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Vijayawada, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Cochin, Guwahati, Jaipur and Lucknow. Since its launch, more than 91 lakh passengers have availed the facility of Digi Yatra to travel through the airports. Eventually, all the airports will be covered with Digi Yatra in a phased manner.

Greenfield Airports

The Government of India has formulated a Greenfield Airports Policy, 2008 which provides guidelines, procedure and conditions for establishment of new Greenfield Airports in the country.  Government of India has so far accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up of 21 Greenfield Airports across the country, namely, Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura, Hassan and Shivamogga in Karnataka, Dabra (Gwalior) in Madhya Pradesh, Kushinagar and Noida (Jewar) in Uttar Pradesh, Dholera and Rajkot in Gujarat, Karaikal in Puducherry, Dagadarthi, Bhogapuram and Oravakal (kurnool) in Andhra Pradesh, Durgapur in West Bengal, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kannur in Kerala and Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh across the country.

Out of these, 12 Greenfield airports, namely Durgapur, Shirdi, Sindhudurg, Pakyong, Kannur, Kalaburagi, Oravakal, Kushinagar, Itanagar, Mopa, Shivammogga and Rajkot have been operationalized. During 2023, three Greenfield airports, namely, Mopa, Shivammogga and Rajkot have been operationalized.

Domestic Passenger traffic

On November 19 this year, airlines in India flew 4,56,910 domestic passengers. This was highest single-day air traffic since the pandemic hit, marking a remarkable 7.4% surge above pre-COVID averages-a clear sign of recovery and resilience in the skies.

CAPEX Plan

Under National Infrastructure Pipeline, CAPEX of more than Rs. 91,000 crore is likely to be incurred during the period FY 2019-20 to FY 2024-25, where AAI would be incurring approx. Rs. 25,000 crore and remaining expenditure shall be borne by airport developers under PPP mode. An expenditure of approx. Rs. 65,000 crore has been already incurred up to November 2023, which includes approx. Rs. 11,000 crore spent till November 2023 for FY 2023-24.

Airports run on 100% Green Energy

Use of conventional sources of energy is the prime source of carbon emission at airports and thus replacing with green energy helps in reducing the carbon footprint of the airport. Therefore, MoCA has advised all the operational airports with scheduled operations and developers of the upcoming Greenfield Airports to work towards achieving Carbon Neutrality & Net Zero which inter-alia includes use of green energy. Presently, 66 airports across the country are running with 100% Green Energy.

Congestion at Airports

The issue of Congestion at major airports was witnessed during last year festive season/ Winter 2022, which became a cause of  concern, as it took longer waiting time for passenger processing at various touch points.

Ministry of Civil Aviation has taken painstaking efforts in collaboration with all the stakeholders including airport operators, BCAS, MHA, CISF, BoI etc. in identifying the bottlenecks for necessary augmentation of infrastructure at airports. In the first phase, Metro Airport operators of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai airports were directed to identify bottlenecks in passenger processing and augment their capacities to meet the growing passenger demands. Subsequently, 10 more airports viz. Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Goa, Patna, Jaipur, Guwahati, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum and Cochin were identified in September ’23, where the Airport operators were sensitized to take proactive measures to avoid congestion by augmenting capacities, wherever required.

With the above efforts, additional space have  been created at airports by restructuring the available terminal infrastructure to release more space and augment capacity at several passenger touch points for airport operators to be in readiness to handle more passengers comfortably, thereby reducing congestion. MoCA and its agencies are almost on a daily basis monitoring the efforts made by airport operators, the airlines and other stakeholders to ensure that the mitigation measures which are in place are duly complied with and the ultimate airport user, i.e. the passenger(s) get the best travel experience. Identified Passenger Touch points and its improvement at 16 airports over a period of one year is as follows:

  • Entry Lanes has been increased by 46% from 213 (as on Dec, 2022) to 312 (as on Dec, 2023).
  • Check-in Counters has been increased by 24% from 1316 (as on Dec, 2022) to 1633 (as on Dec, 2023).
  • XBIS/ATRs at Security Check Points has been increased by 37% from 234 (as on Dec, 2022) to 321 (as on Dec, 2023).
  • CISF workforce has been increased by 21% from 20,487 (as on Dec, 2022) to 24,733 (as on Dec, 2023).
  • BoI counters for Immigration/Emigration functions increased by 24% from 808 (as on Dec, 2022) to 1,002 (as on Dec, 2023).