Govt mulls converting unused airports into SEZs

The government is looking at converting some unused airports into special economic zones where aircraft leasing companies can park their planes and showcase them to potential customers, a senior official said on Thursday.
Besides, it would explore ways to reduce the cost of leasing aircraft as part of larger efforts to make the domestic aviation space more attractive, civil aviation secretary R N Choubey said.
The new civil aviation policy, unveiled on June 15, provides for measures to enhance regional connectivity and reducing the cost of leasing would help this initiative.
The civil aviation ministry would look at the possibility of utilising certain unused airports for the purpose of parking aircraft and even use aerodromes for plane- breaking or dismantling of old aircraft.
There are around 400 unused airports and airstrips across the country.
“I met someone who said that we have so many airports in the country. Is it possible for us to declare some of them as SEZs (Special Economic Zones) and allow them to be used for two things. One for leasing companies all over the world to come and park the aircraft.
“We are doing well in ship breaking and he was saying can’t we do something in plane-breaking,” Choubey said here. Noting that these are “exciting ideas”, he said efforts should be made to derisk the aviation sector.

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