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A Flight into the Future: FM in Airports

Consider this for a moment: In 2019, about 14.41 crore Indians took to the skies, about four times the combined populations of Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. These people passed through over 150 airports on scheduled commercial flights, with some taking off or landing every minute and some others having just one service a day.

With revamped and newer airports coming up beyond Tier I and Tier II cities in India, at the time of writing this article, a whopping 369 new routes have been operationalised. According to aircraft manufacturer Boeing, India’s air passenger market may double from pre-Covid levels by 2030.

Five years ago this month, the government launched the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, providing incentives and benefits for airports and airlines to cater to underserved areas. From Bhatinda to Kadapa, Jaisalmer to Tezpur, Indians can and will fly to the farthest corners of the country. As per rating agency ICRA, only 47% of total routes and 39% of airports (unserved and underserved) have been operationalized under UDAN as of May 2021. The untapped potential for growth is immense.

Over the next five years, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to invest `25,000 crore (US$ 3.58 billion) to augment facilities and infrastructure at airports. New airports, and new terminals at existing airports are in the offing. The AAI has also started granting approvals to privatise airport operations. The government is aiming for private investment of `3,660 crore in airports by FY24. Meanwhile, two new airlines are set to take off next year. And under the scheme to reinvigorate civil aviation announced in September, four new airports are set to be operational within just 100 days.

What does all this mean?

Airports are set to drive the growth of the organised facilities management and the cleaning segments in India. With passenger expectations only rising, these airports will have multiple lounges, F&B areas, washrooms, airport hotels and more, all of which will require a host of products and services.

In this issue, Mrigank Warrier of Clean India Journal explores the entire scope of airport FM and all it entails, from facade cleaning and washroom hygiene to HVAC maintenance and waste management.

Sit back, relax and fasten your seatbelts for a flight into the future of facility management in Indian airports.

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