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Stage set for upgrading of Mysore airport

Special Correspondent

Centre promises aid to develop Mangalore airport


  • Joint venture airport projects in Hassan, Gulbarga likely
  • State urged to help make new airports economically viable



    DASARA GIFT: K. Ramalingam (right), AAI Chairman, and Vinay Kumar, State Principal Secretary in charge of infrastructure development, exchange documents after signing the agreement on the Mysore airport project in New Delhi on Thursday. Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel (second from right), Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, and Minister for Finance P.G.R. Sindhia (second from left) are seen. — Photo: V.V. Krishnan

    NEW DELHI: In a Dasara gift to the people of Mysore, the State Government and the Airport Authority of India on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding to upgrade the airport in that city.

    Facilities for operating 50- to 70-seater ATR-42 type aircraft will be provided initially, and the airport will be later developed to handle operations of B-737 and A-320 aircraft.

    The project envisages development of a 1.7-km runway in an east-west alignment and creation of infrastructure, including a new terminal building for 100 passengers, apron, taxiway, and a control tower, at an estimated cost of Rs. 45 crores.

    Speaking after the signing the agreement, Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the Centre is keen on assisting the State to develop the Mangalore airport into an international facility and construct airports in Hassan and Gulbarga.

    He said Mangalore is an important destination, and the State Government's proposal to upgrade the airport will receive the Centre's attention. The Civil Aviation Ministry will explore the possibility of constructing airports in Hassan and Gulbarga as a joint venture with the State Government.

    Mr. Patel said the Centre believes that promoting air connectivity is important for economic development.

    Along with construction of airports, measures should be initiated to make it economically viable for airlines to operate flights from them. He suggested to the State Government to enter into a short-term agreement with Indian Airlines and its subsidiaries for operating flights to new airports coming up in the State. The State may have to give them about Rs. 10 crores to Rs. 15 crores a year to cover the operational costs, including leasing of the aircraft.

    The agreement may be signed for a period of five years. This will help increase traffic to new destinations.

    After the initial period, airports will be able to operate on their own. This model of airport development has been adopted in the north-eastern region, and Karnataka could follow suit, he said.

    `Historic development'

    Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh described the signing of the agreement as a historic development and thanked the Centre for lending a helping hand for the development of the State. The State Government is implementing important projects, including construction of an international airport and a metro rail system in Bangalore, he added.

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