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20 un-utilised airports ready to start operations for regional flights: AAI chief

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New Delhi :As the Centre finalises the contours for the ambitious ‘Regional Air Connectivity’ scheme, the Airports Authority of India on Wednesday said as many as 20 un-utilised airports were ready to start operations for regional flights. Another 30 airports can be made ready for operations under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) by making “some investments”, AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said.

Under the scheme, announced in the new civil aviation policy, the ministry has proposed capping fares at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights on un-served and under-served routes besides various financial concessions for airlines. Speaking to reporters, Mohapatra said 20 unutilised airports owned by AAI were ready from where flights under RCS can take off.

He said the government plans to have no-frills airports for regional air services and AAI was studying the design parameters for such aerodromes. RCS refers to operation of an air transport service between any two airports, of which at least one has been declared by the Central government as un-served or under-served, according to the draft rules.

There are 394 un-served and 16 under-served airports in the country. Under-served aerodromes are those which have less than seven flights a week. Under the new civil aviation policy, the Airports Authority of India would be the nodal agency for implementation of RCS. Mohapatra said cost of setting up an airport depends on the size.

“Today the construction cost is about Rs 1,00,000-1,10,000 per sq metre of the terminal building,” he said. About Juhu airport in Mumbai that is at present used for helicopter operations, he said AAI has appointed a consultant to study the feasibility of using the runway for non-scheduled flight operations. The AAI chief added that since runway extension from one side was not possible due to land constraints, various other options including extending the runway into the sea, were being explored. 09202220

PTI

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