The city will come on the air map of India as the new and upgraded airport will be inaugurated by the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel here on Saturday.
The new airport, constructed at an estimated cost of nearly Rs. 60 crore by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), was completed on September 15, 2009 and was set for a Dasara inauguration.
But after a delay of eight months, during which the airport handled over 150 chartered flights, the new facility will be officially inaugurated and commercial operations launched.
However, sources said though Mr. Patel would inaugurate the infrastructure created by the AAI, regular flight operations would commence only after a month or two after clearance is received by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“ It will be a mere formality once the DGCA receives flight plans from airline operators,” sources said.
Jet Airways had also expressed its interest in starting commercial operations and was finalising plans for regular flights, and sources in the aviation circles told The Hindu that other airline operators were also working on their schedules.
While the Government has drawn flak for letting the airport lie idle for eight months, the delay is reckoned to be normal in case of airports as it takes time for airline operators to schedule their flight routes after assessing passenger potential.
“The Tuticorin and Salem airports were lying idle for almost 16 years after massive investments. With respect to Mysore, the AAI wait is only for eight months and the air passenger traffic potential is encouraging,” the sources said.
Random surveys conducted by Confederation of Indian Industry estimated that passengers originating from Mysore were about 6,000 a month, but this is only a conservative estimate based on a small representative sample. Tour operators and private players in the travel industry estimate the passenger traffic to be higher.
With a tourist inflow of nearly 2.7 million per annum and projected to touch the 5-million mark by 2020, airline operators could easily break even on the Mysore sector.
The modernised airport has a runway length of 1,740 m and a width of 30 m and can handle ATR short-haul flights with capacity of 60-70 passengers.
The AAI has installed Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) to facilitate night landing in all weather conditions at the airport.
Keywords: Airport modernisation