Airports Authority of India (AAI)

Airports Authority of India (AAI)

Airports Authority of India (AAI)


  • The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is a statutory body under the ownership of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India.
  • It is responsible for creating, upgrading, maintaining, and managing civil aviation infrastructure in India.
  • It provides Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) services over the Indian airspace and even beyond the territorial limits of the country, in accordance with the norms set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation
  • AAI currently manages a total of 137 airports, including 34 international airports, 10 Customs Airports81 domestic airports, and 23 Civil enclaves at Defence airfields.
  • AAI also has ground installations at all airports and 25 other locations to ensure the safety of aircraft operations.
  • AAI covers all major air routes over the Indian landmass via 29 Radar installations at 11 locations along with 700 VOR/DVOR installations co-located with Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)52 runways are provided with Instrument landing system (ILS) installations with Night Landing Facilities at most of these airports and an Automatic Message Switching System at 15 Airports.


  • The Government of India constituted the International Airports Authority of India (IAAI) in 1972 to manage the nation’s international airports while the National Airports Authority of India (NAAI) was constituted in 1986 to look after domestic airports
  • The organizations were merged in April 1995 by an Act of Parliament, namely, the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994, and has been constituted as a Statutory Body and was named the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Functions of the Airports Authority of India

  • The Airport Authority of India (AAI) carries out several key functions. Some of the main functions of AAI are as follows:
  • Airport Development and Management is responsible for developing, maintaining, and managing airports across the country. This includes planning, designing, construction, and operation of airport facilities to ensure smooth and efficient air travel.
  • Air Traffic Management (ATM) provides Air Traffic Management services over Indian Territory airspace and adjacent marine areas. This involves managing and controlling air traffic, ensuring safe takeoff, landing, and movement of aircraft within Indian airspace.
  • Safety and Security: AAI prioritizes safety and security measures at airports. This includes implementing safety protocols, conducting regular inspections, and ensuring compliance with international aviation standards to maintain a secure environment for passengers and aircraft operations.
  • Airside Operations: AAI manages airside operations, including aircraft movement, ground handling services, runway maintenance, taxiway operations, apron management, and fueling services, to facilitate smooth operations at airports.
  • Terminal Management: AAI overseas terminal operations, including passenger facilitation, baggage handling, check-in processes, security screening, and airport facilities management, to provide a seamless and comfortable experience for travellers.
  • Infrastructure Development: AAI undertakes the development and modernization of airport infrastructure, including runways, taxiways, aprons, terminals, navigational aids, and communication systems, to enhance the capacity and efficiency of airports.
  • Regional Connectivity: AAI plays a vital role in promoting regional connectivity by developing and upgrading airports in underserved and remote areas, thereby facilitating air travel and contributing to regional economic growth.
  • International Cooperation: AAI collaborates with international aviation bodies, organizations, and foreign counterparts to ensure adherence to global aviation standards, exchange best practices, and foster cooperation in areas such as air navigation services and airport management.

Airport Authority of India Achievements

  • Airport Development and Modernization: AAI has undertaken extensive development and modernization projects across various airports in India. This includes infrastructure expansion, construction of new terminals, runway upgrades, and implementation of state-of-the-art facilities to enhance passenger experience and accommodate increasing air traffic.
  • Air Traffic Management: AAI ensures efficient and safe air traffic management across Indian airspace. It has implemented advanced technologies, such as radar systems, automatic dependent surveillance systems (ADSS), and performance-based navigation procedures, to optimize air traffic flow, enhance safety, and minimize delays.
  • Regional Connectivity: AAI has played a vital role in promoting regional connectivity by developing and upgrading airports in underserved and remote areas. These efforts have improved accessibility, connectivity, and economic opportunities for previously underserved regions of the country.
  • Collaborations with International Organizations: AAI has collaborated with international aviation organizations, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to ensure compliance with global aviation standards. This collaboration includes sharing best practices, knowledge exchange, and capacity-building initiatives.
  • Green Initiatives: AAI has actively implemented sustainable practices and environmental initiatives across its airports. This includes the use of renewable energy sources, water conservation measures, waste management, and eco-friendly infrastructure design to minimize the environmental impact of airport operations.
  • Skill Development and Training: AAI has established training institutes and programs to enhance the skills and expertise of aviation professionals. These initiatives focus on air traffic control, airport management, aviation security, and various technical aspects of airport operations.

Technological Innovations of AAI

Implementation of ADSS.

India became the first country in Southeast Asia to implement Automatic Dependent Surveillance System (ADSS) at Chennai and Kolkata Air Traffic Control Centers. This system utilizes satellite communication for air traffic control over oceanic areas.

Development of the GAGAN Project

AAI, in collaboration with ISRO, is developing the GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) project. It integrates signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS) to enhance aircraft navigation and meet navigational requirements.

Implementation of Performance-Based Navigation Procedures

AAI has implemented Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) procedures at Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad airports. PBN enhances navigation accuracy and efficiency, allowing for optimized air traffic management.

Co-organization of Wings India 2022

AAI, along with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and FICCI, co-organized Wings India 2022. The event aimed to boost the aviation industry, and facilitate the business acquisition, investments, policy formulation, and regional connections in line with India’s aspiration to become a leading aviation center

Highlights of the Indian Civil Aviation Market

  • Aviation Sector: India’s Civil Aviation is among the fastest-growing aviation markets globally and will be a major growth engine to make India a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024.
  • Passenger Traffic: 3rd largest aviation market by domestic air passenger traffic which stood at 274.05 million in FY20. It grew at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.91% during FY16-FY20.
  • Airports: 75 airports opened in 75 years of Civil Aviation in India while under the aegis of Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN), within a span of 3 years, work has been initiated to provide scheduled connectivity to 76 unserved / 20 underserved airports, 31 heliports, and 10 water aerodromes.
  • Fleet Strength: 713 aircraft of scheduled Indian carriers operating year-round; private scheduled airlines plan to add over 900 aircraft in the next 5 years.
  • Commitment to Greener Airspace: Comprehensive regulatory policies and strategies adopted to reduce aviation carbon footprints.
  • Ensuring Hassle-free Travel: Incorporated systematic approaches to redress passenger grievances, and improve operational efficiencies across the system.

Opportunities In the Indian Aviation Market

  • FDI: 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) allowed under Automatic route for Ground Handling Services and Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Services (MRO) and for both green and brownfield projects.
  • Scope of Growth: The Indian civil Aviation MRO market, at present, stands at around USD 900 million and is anticipated to grow to USD 4.33 billion by 2025 increasing at a CAGR of about 14-15%.
  • The nation’s airplane fleet is projected to quadruple in size to approximately 2500 airplanes by 2038.
  • Connecting New Airports: The government aims to develop 100 airports by 2024 (under the UDAN Scheme) and create world-class civil aviation infrastructure to be at par with global standards.

Schemes of the Ministry of Civil Aviation India

UDAN scheme

  • UDAN is an innovative scheme to build the regional aviation market.
  • It is a market-based system in which airlines bid for seat subsidies.
  • This first-of-its-kind scheme globally will provide affordable, economically viable, and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable for everyone
  • The scheme would be in operation for ten years.
  • The UDAN scheme will be applied on flights between 200 km and 800 km. There is no lower limit given for hilly, remote, islands, and regions
  • The state governments can reap the benefit of the development of remote areas
  • It helps in enhancing trade and commerce and tourism expansion.
  • The scheme provides connectivity to unutilized and under-served airports of the country through the revival of existing airstrips and airports.
  • The operators can seek Viability Gap Funding (VGF) along with various concessions.
  • The scheme aims to increase air travel in Tier II and Tier III cities by capping fares at Rs 2,500 per one-hour flight.
  • The Airports Authority of India(AAI) is the implementing authority of the UDAN scheme.
  • According to the scheme, the Union Government will subsidize the losses incurred by airlines flying out of dormant airports.
  • The UDAN scheme has been developed over the years by the government to support the economy.
  • UDAN 2.0 focused on priority areas and helicopter operations.
  • UDAN 3.0 is based on the Inclusion of seaplane routes.
  • UDAN 4.0 to further enhance the connectivity to remote & regional areas of the country.

Digi Yatra

  • It facilitates paperless travel and avoids identity checks at multiple points in an airport. Each passenger would get a unique Digi Yatra ID.
  • It is a biometrics-based digital system for passenger entry and related requirements at the airport.

NABH (Nextgen Airports for Bharat)

  • It aims to establish 100 airports in 10-15 years at an estimated investment of Rs 4 lakh crore, and a large percentage of the investment is to come from the private sector.
  • It seeks expansion of the airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year.

Related Links

Digi Yatra SchemeMost Important Government Schemes 2024
Swadesh Darshan SchemeHRIDAY Scheme