New Delhi: To turn India into an aviation hub by expanding regional and international connectivity, a high level meeting on infrastructure chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday decided to operationalise airline hubs at Delhi and Chennai by the next fiscal. An airline policy would be finalised in this regard, it was decided in the meeting.

The policy has been formulated because of fear of loss of outbound air traffic from India to adjoining airports such as Dubai and Singapore.

Under the policy, a series of steps are entailed which include improvement of connectivity and making visa processing easier so that more passengers fly from India to destinations in Europe and America. To further boost aviation infrastructure, it was decided to award three new greenfield projects in Financial Year 2013 at Navi Mumbai, Goa and Kannur.

The meeting, attended by ministers of infrastructure sministries like power, coal, aviation, shipping and road transport, was called as part of an exercise to boost investment sentiment in the country. By July-end, additional PPP projects would be finalized for 10-12 existing airports and for 10-12 greenfield airports. These would be awarded during the year, it was decided in the meeting.

Lucknow, Varanasi, Coimbatore, Trichy and Gaya are the likely locations where three to four international airports could be declared this year.

Meanwhile, total investment on AAI projects has been pegged at Rs 2,100 crore. The Prime Minister felt that the targets set are ambitious and impressive and they are a significant scale up over earlier performance.

(Agencies)

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