Airport Authority of India (AAI), which is state-owned airport operator, decides to expand in the neighboring countries. This step is an attempt by the government to increase the nation’s influence in the region.
SAARC is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The business development unit of AAI has begun discussions with several countries in SAARC region to pitch how expertise of AAI can help in developing aviation infrastructure in those countries.
AAI have asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of External Affairs to make this a part of the agenda whenever there is bilateral negotiations of India with SAARC countries.
AAI will offer to build airport terminals, impart training in terminal and air traffic management, search and rescue operations and steps to increase non-aeronautical revenue.
The first project that may be awarded to AAI in this regard is the second international airport at Kathmandu.
AAI along with other infrastructure building agencies like NHAI were asked to explore the opportunity of developing infrastructure in the region.
For instance, India’s aid to Nepal has increased to Rs 650 crore in 2017-18, a 73% increase from the previous year allocation.