NEW DELHI: More than 90 per cent airports run by the state-owned agency Airports Authority of India (AAI) are running into losses, according to government data. In 2016-2017, the AAI could generate revenue from only eight of the total 102 airports it manages in the country. Delhi’s Safdarjung Airport, which is occasionally used for VVIP chopper flights, incurred the maximum losses of over Rs 92 crore followed by airports at Amritsar and Bhopal which saw losses of Rs 50.52 crore and Rs 49.53 crore respectively.
The AAI airports that generated profits were Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Leh, Lucknow, Mangalore, Patna and Tiruchirappalli. While airports at Kolkata, Lucknow, Leh, Guwahati and Tiruchirappalli generated profits last year too, Bhubaneswar, Patna and Mangalore airports are new entrants in the list of profitable airports.
In 2015-2016, Bhubaneswar, Mangalore and Patna airports ran into losses of Rs 15.30 crore, Rs 8.41 crore and Rs 5.05 crore respectively. While these three airports have shown significant improvement in revenue generation, Chandigarh airport has gone backwards on revenue generation. In 2015-2016, Chandigarh airport became a profitable airport, but in 2016-2017, it recorded a loss of over Rs 10 crore.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha recently revealed information about state-run loss-making airports in the Lok Sabha while giving a written reply on the issue. The minister informed the Parliament “that the airports incurred losses due to low revenue generation, which was not adequate to meet the total expenditure pertaining to the respective airports.”
The data assumes significance as the AAI is planning to invest Rs 1,500 crore for developing airports, most of which are loss-making airports. According to ministry sources, the AAI will invest about Rs 1,500 crore to upgrade airports in Lucknow, Allahabad, Deoghar and build a new airport at Hirasar, Rajkot, to meet rising demand for air travel.
Sinha informed the Lok Sabha that AAI is taking several steps to ensure that the loss-making airports become viable. “The steps taken by AAI to make its airports profitable include development of cargo activities, allowing operations of flying schools at non-operational airports, revision of base rates, enhancement of non-aeronautical revenue, which includes rationalisation of parking charges, utilisation of empty space at the terminal and leasing of unused land,” Sinha said.
AAI earns an insignificant amount from non-aero revenue and it primarily comes from the airports in Tier-1 cities.