New Delhi:

The aviation sector in India, currently growing at nearly 28 percent, will see an investment of close to Rs 1 lakh crore in the next five years for capacity augmentation and development of new greenfield airports, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said today.

As his ministry firms up plans to achieve 1 billion passenger trips per annum within the next 15-20 years, Sinha said the capacity addition will come with other amenities such as use of digital technology for passenger verification and bringing about a paradigm shift in airport designs.

While the Airport Authority of India alone would infuse Rs 20,178 crore in the next 4-5 years for development of infrastructure at 21 airports, a capex outlay of Rs 50,000 crore is expected to be infused for the development of new greenfield airports such as Navi Mumbai, Jewar and Mopa (Goa).

Besides, upgradation and expansion have been proposed for Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad airports under the private sector, for which an investment of Rs 25,000 crore is expected in five years, Sinha said, giving details of the Rs 1 lakh crore investment.

In particular, he talked about the Union Cabinet's approval for constructing new terminals in Chennai, Lucknow and Guwahati, which together would see investments worth more than Rs 5,000 crore.

While the new terminal buildings in Chennai and Lucknow are expected to become operational by December 2021, the new terminal building at Guwahati airport would function from March 2021, AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said.

A 'concept of design council' has been set up by the AAI to give a new design to the upcoming airport buildings, which blends with the local flavour, the minister said.

The council comprises eminent architectures. The three terminal buildings approved today has had the touch of these architects.

Talking about the ministry's 'digi yatra' programme, Sinha said it is expected to be rolled out in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Varanasi and Vijayawada in phases by January 2019.

Under this programme, entry to security hold and boarding would be done through "e-gate" activated by face recognition. Passengers will receive all services through face recognition.

As the personal data of a passenger is used under the scheme, the minister made it clear that enrolling for the digi yatra scheme would be "voluntary in nature and non-intrusive".

He said the formats will be finalised soon and that they are holding discussion with the Law Ministry before launching the initiative.