Airport Authority of India (AAI)

After the combination of International Airport Authority of India (IAAI) and National Airport Authority (NAA) on 1 April 1995 Airpot Authority of India tales place. Both of them were dealing with different aspects of airports.

The International Airport Authority of India (IAAI) was constituted by an act of Parliament in 1972. Its primary function was to manage the international airports at Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, and Madras, which were handling about 85% of total global passenger traffic. Its function was management, planning, and development of international airports. Its organizational structure was consisting of a Chairman (appointed by the Central Government), Director General of Civil Aviation (ex officio members), three whole-time members of engineering, operations, finance & administration, and three part-time members of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Air India & Indian Airlines. Its primary function was to plan, develop, construct and maintain runways, taxiways aprons, terminal & other buildings at airports. It was responsible for facilitating the airport staff by building houses for their family residence. It also made hotels, restaurants, and other passenger utilities at airports. It made warehouses, storage, and other facilities for export-import houses, etc.

Another Airport organization was the National Airport Authority (NAA), which was formed on 1 June 1986. It had a chairman with four members. Its main functions were to manage civil aerodromes, planning, development, construction and maintenance of runways, passenger handling buildings, air traffic control systems, warehouses, helipads, etc.

Due to several factors, both organizations were merged through the Airport Authority Act (No. 55 of 1994) on 1 April 1995. At present, AAI manages five international airports (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata & Trivendrum), 87 domestic airports, and 28 civil enclaves. Its head office is located at Rajiv Gandhi Bawan, Safdarjang Airport, New Delhi. The AAI is managed by a board that consists of a Chairman, the DGCA as the ex officio member, four whole-time members, and five part-time members. It has a workforce of approximately 20 thousand manpower in the areas of civil and structural engineers, electrical and electronic engineers, automobile engineers, architects, safety service managers, air traffic controllers, finance, audit and accounts managers, HRD/HRM managers, legal advisors and cartographers. The in-house training requirements of the AAI are catered by four training institutes. The two of these training institutes are approved under ICAO Course Development Centres.

As we discussed earlier, The Airport Authority of India (AAI) owns and controls 92 Airports ( 87 Domestic and 5 International Airports) and twenty-eight civil enclaves at defense airfields. It provides air traffic services in India and joining marine areas. Among domestic airports, about 61 airports are functional. Others are non-functional (where not a single flight arrived/departed within the last 5-10 years). About 51 percent of total traffic and 65% of the international traffic is handled by Mumbai & Delhi airports. Rest important airports according to their share (foreign and domestic) are Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Thiruvantha-Puram, Ahmedabad, Goa & Calicut.

At present, about 12 airports (including 5 primaries) are handling international passengers. Besides, the government is planning to develop 32 other airports as model airports. The Ministry has also offered the private airlines to adopt other minor airports as their headquarters, which will save their taxes, including congestion problems at Delhi and Mumbai.

With the rapid growth in the airline’s companies in India, bilateral agreement with other airlines, induction of large no. of Aircraft, the importance, and functions of AAI has increased tremendously.

Functions of Airports Authority of India

AAI is playing an essential role in handling air traffic at airports. Its primary services are:-

  • To control and manage the entire Indian space, which includes airspace over mainland, islands & oceans (excluding the particular user airspace), as expected by the ICAO.
  • It provides communication and navigational aids such as ILS (Instrument landing system), Radar, DVOR, etc. It faces several challenges such a fogs (over Delhi in January), floods (Mumbai, Kolkata & Patna), Cyclones, etc.
  • It designs, constructs, operates & maintains the airport’s runways, aprons, taxiways, terminal buildings, passenger utilities (e.g., restaurants, lounges, shops), etc.
  • It provides an information system to all airlines which serve Indian airports.
  • It is also planning to make ‘Vision Airports’ like Changi (Singapore) or Schiphol (Amsterdam) with hotels, shopping malls, conference facilities, entertainment parks, etc. with private partnership.
  • It also executes several projects in foreign countries.
  • Recent Achievements and Plans of AAI
  • Installed the cat-IIIA instrument landing system of IGI Airport for the landing of Aircraft during foggy weather.
  • Upgraded Guwahati, Lucknow, Jaipur, and Gaya Airports for international flights.
  • Installed monopulse secondary surveillance Radars at 12 locations.
  • Modernization of 22 Airports including Ranchi, Patna, Gaya, Jammu, Leh, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bangalore, and Visakhapatnam took up.
  • New terminal buildings commissioned at Lilabari, Agartala, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Portblair, Tejpur & Jammu.
  • Introduced the Airside corridor from international to the domestic terminal and vice-versa at Delhi and Mumbai Airports.
  • Soon joining the select club of US, Russia, and European Union to provide Satellite-based navigation in association with ISRO.

The ICAO has given a green signal to the master plan of ‘Delhi International Airport Ltd.’ which will be developed by GMR consortium. It has got clearance from the Union Environment Ministry for expansion, restructuring, and modernization of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI). It includes a U-Shaped structure with 3 landing stripes, a shopping area, public utilities, terminal buildings, a budget, and a luxury hotel. It will be completed by the year 2010 to handle commonwealth games. It can handle 100 million passengers.

  • The AAI is planning to extend a small airport at Agatti with nearly Kalpati island (Lakshadweep), runway to extend from 1204m. To 1600m. At Rs. 400 crore.
  •         The AAI is planning to reach the 1450m. The long track at Kullu, over the river Beas. It will need Rs. 300 crore.
  • The AAI is planning to make more airports in Rajasthan at Ajmer & Bikaner and to upgrade Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur.
  • The Govt. of India has cleared the project of AAI to make a new airport in Navi Mumbai (May 2007) to handle increasing passengers. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal at Sahar has achieved its maximum capacity.

Thus, AAI is playing a crucial role in civil aviation by making airport operations smooth. At present, the primary source of income is coming from airports by providing services to airlines and passengers. Now the Govt. of India is planning to add other utilities, e.g., hotels, shopping malls, conference halls, and entertainment parks. Thus, its primary source of revenue will be 70% from other than airport services as it is a case in several world-class airports (e.g., Singapore, Kualalumpur, Dubai, etc.) At present, the primary revenue earners are about 10 main airports, and a large chunk of this amount is diverted to small uneconomic airports to keep their maintenance. Thus, the AAI is playing a very significant role in providing a base for airlines and passengers.

Reference: DDEKUK, Written By Prof Ravi Kumar Bhushan, DTHM, KUK


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