Kerala should exploit the immense opportunities in the aviation sector brought about by rapid changes in the aviation scenario and the construction of the fourth international airport at Kannur, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone for a Academy complex of the Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology (RGAAT), near the new international terminal of Thiruvananthapuram international airport, and Air India's Aircraft Maintenance Base at Chakka on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said the youth should be trained to tap the opportunities. The government would provide all support to youth who were willing to take up a career in aviation and associated fields, he said.

Airstrips

The airstrips proposed in the budget for the districts that do not have airports and the commissioning of the airport at Kannur would further change the scenario, he said. Mr. Chandy said the three international airports in the State, Thiruvananthapuram, Nedumbaserry, and Karipur, were faring well.

Presiding over the function, Minister for Forests and Sports K.B. Ganesh Kumar, who is the chairman of the academy, said the government would make the academy an international pilot training centre. It would be open to those who want to take a full-time career in flying.

The Minister called upon the students to cooperate with the authorities to make the academy world-class. Funds would not be a problem for the development of the academy, he said adding that the firm that had been entrusted with the work of the complex had been told to complete it in a time-bound manner.

The new aircraft to be acquired by the academy would also be used for disaster management in addition to providing training to pilot students. The government hoped to use the proposed air strips in the districts for the use of aircraft for emergencies.

Minister for Transport and Devaswom V.S. Sivakumar; Air Marshall S.P. Singh, Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Air Command; Principal Secretary, Transport, Tom Jose; executive vice-chairman of RGAAT V. Thulasidas; Airport Director G. Chandramouli; and councillor B. Padmakumar; spoke.