States, Centre should work together as Team India: Venkaiah Naidu

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the gathering after laying the Foundation Stone for the Extension of Runway & Strengthening of Tirupati Airport, in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh on February 20, 2019. The Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Jayant Sinha and other dignitaries are also seen.

The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon various State governments and the Centre to adopt a ‘Team India’ approach and work together for the development of the country, keeping aside politics.

Laying the foundation stone for Extension and Strengthening of Runway of the Tirupati Airport, the Vice President said “As far as development is concerned, both State and Central governments must work as Team India”.

On completion, the extension of runway would facilitate the landing of wide-bodied aircraft like B-747-400, B-777-300 ER. The existing runway is suitable only for operation of AB-320/AB-321 type of aircraft, he added.

Naidu emphasised the importance of Air, Rail and Road connectivity for spurring economic growth.  Quoting the Directorate General of Civil Aviation report,  Naidu said that India had 13.9 crore domestic air travellers in 2018 — up by 18.6% as compared to 11.7 crore in 2017, he said.

Quoting IATA (International Air Transport Association) report, he said Asia-Pacific region would become the driver of the passenger growth with more than half the total number of new passengers coming from these markets over the next 20 years.

Pointing out that infrastructure in aviation sector was hampered due to paucity of funds for many years, Naidu opined that Public Private Partnership was the way forward to expand infrastructure and building new airports. Shri Naidu said that success of the PPP models at Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad were worthy of emulation elsewhere.

Quoting the recent traffic data released by Airports Authority of India, Naidu said that passenger traffic at Tirupati, Rajahmundry and Kadapa airports surged high.

Observing that India was moving forward with 7.3%  growth rate when the rest of the world was slowing down, Naidu said that there was a need for more investment in aviation sector. The growth in aviation sector would not only spur tourism, but also generate more employment, he added.

Naidu appreciated the government for providing air connectivity to currently underserved and un-served airports under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN.  He said such measures would help people living in small and medium cities to have access to affordable air travel. 

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