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Jet-setting India for more airports per city

CNN-IBN
Mar 29, 2008 at 06:59pm IST

New Delhi: Flying, the great Indian middle class dream, is now becoming a reality with airports across the country getting a facelift and the Aviation Ministry seeing a requirement for 500 terminals in the future.

However, air travel in India leaves much to be desired according to a lot of Indians. And what is the state of the Indian airports? Do they fare any better? Are they able to provide world class services to air passengers?

CNN-IBN and AC Nielsen conducted a nationwide poll called the State of the Indian Airports to find how 'aero dynamic' are our airports.

According to the survey, only 44 per cent of passengers rate the overall experience in Indian airports as "Good", the rest term it as "Just OK" — something which is certainly not music to the Aviation Minister, Praful Patel's ears.

"I am not saying it is pardonable, but it is something that can happen in any part of the world. I have travelled with great difficulty even in developed airports," says Praful Patel as way of excuse.

As far as connectivity to airports is concerned, over half the people surveyed want the airport within 15 km, another 38 per cent want it to be within 25 km and just 10 per cent are okay with an airport more than 25 km away.

People say that India has allowed the aircraft to come in, but has not built the infrastructure for it.

Soon after new airports were inaugurated in Bangalore and Hyderabad, people started thinking that more than one airport was a must in cities. Over 3/4th of the survey respondents stated that because of growing population and easier access to flying, more than one airport had certainly become the norm of the day.

Air Deccan founder, Captain Gopinath says, "The only way an airport or airline can give better service to the consumer is if it has competition."

Three-fourth of the respondents again responded in the positive when asked if they preferred private airports as against those run by the Airport Authority of India.

Praful Patel had earlier said: "There are going to be private airports and there is going to be competition. Increased competition in airlines has brought in better service, better fares."

To find out which of India's airport was voted the best and which failed on the satisfaction index, watch State of the Indian Airport on CNN-IBN on Saturday at 8 pm.

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