Budget 2016 - Big boost to air connectivity, plan to revive 160 airports

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New Delhi, Feb 29: To boost air connectivity, the government is preparing an action plan to revive 160 airports and airstrips, each of would cost about Rs 50-100 crore.

Presenting the Budget for 2016-17, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government is drawing up an action plan for revival of unserved and underserved airports.

Airport

"There are about 160 airports and air strips with state governments which can be revived at an indicative cost of Rs 50 crore to Rs 100 crore each. "We will partner with the state governments to develop some of these airports for regional connectivity.

Similarly, 10 of the 25 non-functional air strips with the Airports Authority of India will also be developed," Jaitley said. The Civil Aviation Ministry is already working on a new aviation policy that would focus on boosting regional air connectivity, among other measures.

The draft policy has mooted various measures to boost regional connectivity including setting up of no-frills airports and providing viability gap funding for airlines.

Among others, the draft policy has proposed that there would be no service tax on tickets under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) apart from service tax exemption for scheduled commuter airlines taking jet fuel from RCS airports.

Meanwhile, Jaitley today said customs single window project would be implemented at major ports and airports starting from next fiscal. "In 2014-15 Budget, I had announced the intent to implement Indian Customs Single Window Project. We have made significant progress in this and it would be implemented at major ports and airports starting from beginning of next financial year," he noted.

PTI 

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