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The central government presented a roadmap to invest 91,000 crore to develop new airports and upgrading existing ones in different parts of India in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. The government further stated that several measures are being taken to boost the civil aviation sector, the government said on Monday.

In written replies to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation VK Singh informed that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken up a development programme to spend around 25,000 crore in the next 4 to 5 years for expansion and modification of existing terminals, new terminals and strengthening of runways, aprons, Airport Navigation Services (ANS), control towers, technical blocks, etc.

“Three Public-Private Partnership (PPP) airports at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have undertaken major expansion plan to the tune of 30,000 crore by 2025," Singh said.

"Additionally, 36,000 crore has been planned for investment in the development of new greenfield airports across the country under PPP mode," he added.

Singh told the Upper House that in-principle approval has been given for setting up 21 greenfield airports and eight of them, including Pakyong (Sikkim), Kannur (Kerala), Orvakal (Andhra Pradesh), Kalaburagi (Karnataka) and Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh), are now operational.

Currently, there are 13 airports operated by private companies under the Public-Private Partnership mode. Out of them, 8 belong to AAI -- Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Mangaluru, Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram.

The five other airports at Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Kannur and Durgapur belong to the respective state governments.

AAI has leased out the 8 airports to the PPP partners for operation, management and development of these airports on a long term lease basis. It receives revenues from the PPP partners in the form of revenue share at Delhi and Mumbai and Per Passenger Fee (PPF) at other six airports throughout the concession period.

Singh emphasised that "AAI remains the owner of these airports and all these airports will come back to AAI once the concession period is over".

As on date, under the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), 393 routes have commenced connecting 62 unserved/underserved airports, including 2 water aerodromes and 6 heliports.

Singh noted that the government continues to undertake several measures to make the civil aviation sector a major attraction and to develop it as a major partner in the national economy.

In another written reply, the minister said that more than 2,17,000 flights have been operated under the Vande Bharat Mission and over 1.83 crore passengers have been facilitated.

"The operations under Vande Bharat Mission were commercial operations by the airlines and airfares were paid by passengers. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has not provided any subsidy/grant for the Vande Bharat Mission," he added.

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