Government is considering a proposal to rename airports, a move that could ruffle feathers politically as many of the aerodromes are named after political leaders and known personalities.
“There is a proposal to rename airports... Cabinet is considering it,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said on Thursday on the sidelines of an Assocham event.
“Let’s see what decision is taken going forward,” he said in response to a query on whether there are plans to rename airports.
There are around 75 operational airports in the country and many of them are named after personalities, including political leaders from Congress party.
Later in the evening, Sinha tweeted that the government is considering guidelines only for unnamed airports.
“Media is wrongly reporting that there is a proposal to rename airports. Govt is considering guidelines only for unnamed airports,” he said in the tweet.
While Sinha did not divulge specifics, newspaper reports quoted him as saying that the government is considering a proposal to rename existing airports as well as future ones after cities and not personalities.
State-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) manages 125 airports, including 18 international and 78 domestic aerodromes. Besides, there are 26 civil enclaves at defence airfields and seven customs airports.
While Indian aviation sector is poised for dramatic growth, Sinha said there are challenges of land and financing, among others, for expansion of airport capacity.
“We have to triple our airport capacity and by some estimates that would require, leaving aside the land, somewhere between Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh crore,” he noted.
About Air India, the minister said transformation is underway at the airline. There is a need to improve customer services, restructure the balance sheet, strengthen corporate governance and professional management as well as optimise the routes, he added.
According to him, it should also be looked at how the carrier’s non-core assets can be utilised optimally.