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With a target of 25 more regional airports to be built this year to add to already present 65-70 airports, India will soon have more than 100 airports, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.

Jaitley was speaking at a facilitation ceremony organised by Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), a subsidiary of GMR Group,  for being awarded the best Airport in the world second year in a row.

“From being rated below rank 100 to number 1, the journey of Delhi Airport shows India’s success story. Logically, there is no reason airlines and airports shouldn’t do well in India. We have one of the largest populations, one of the fastest growing major economies in the world and a middle class the size of the population of the US. India, therefore, needs airports of quality,” he said.

He added that India is at a turning point of its infrastructure story and is facing excellent infrastructure in near future in terms of airports, road infrastructure, sea ports as well as railways.

Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said in the next three years, a fourth runway will be added to the existing three to cater to the fast increasing number of passengers expected to cross 75 million passengers in the next three years.

“The Government also has plans to add 80-100 new airports in the country connecting tier-2 and tier-3 cities,” he said.

During the event, organised under the aegis of DIAL, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the Union Minister of Civil Aviation, said, “As regards infrastructure, airports are the backbone of the Civil Aviation sector in any country. The status and position of Delhi, as the national Capital and the gateway to our nation is unique. The premier airport of any national Capital would have to be operationally efficient, technically advanced, environment friendly and aesthetically pleasing. I am sanguine that DIAL shall continue to assign high priority to all these factors as it expands its operations in becoming a hub of economic activity for the entire National Capital Region.”

Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, “Airports have evolved as drivers of business location and urban development in the 21st century. The development and modernisation of Delhi Airport has resulted in significant socio-economic impact, bringing in prosperity not just for the National Capital Territory of Delhi but also for India as a whole.”

Naidu said with Indian economy growing at a fast pace, spending capacity of people will increase and better airports and better airlines are the future.

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