Plea to convene consultation with private airline operators

: The State government has asked the Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI) to convene a consultation with private airline operators to resume flight services from Puducherry Airport.

In a communication to the Chairman of AAI, Welfare and Tourism Minister P.Rajavelu said that Puducherry was one of the very few State headquarters in the country which is yet to be provided with regular air connectivity. “The growth of tourism and economic development in and around Puducherry, is greatly affected by lack of air connectivity. The State government has been taking all possible steps for operationalisation of the airport,” he said.

According to the Minister, an extent of 46 hectares of land was initially transferred to the AAI in 1988. In view of the increased economic activities in the State, the Government has decided to develop the airport by extending the runway to handle all kind of aircrafts. Accordingly, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in June 2007 with AAI for developing the airport in two phases for enabling to operate ATR type of aircrafts.

After completion of first phase expansion of runway work and terminal building, SpiceJet Airlines started operation of its Bombardier aircraft from January 2013 and stopped their operation in February 2014 “without any valid reasons”.

Urging the Chairman of AAI for a meeting with airline operators, Mr. Rajavelu said: “As the Puducherry Airport at present can handle only smaller aircraft, the Government has once again approached fliers such as Spicejet, JetConnect, Air Costa and Air India that have ATR/Bombardier fleets. Other issues like providing night landing facilities and refuelling facilities will also be provided to attract the private airlines….both issues are awaiting clearance from the DGCA .”

The State government also asked the Chairman of AAI to take up the issue of land acquisition with the Ministry of Civil Aviation for acquiring land in Tamil Nadu area for expansion of Puducherry airport to handle bigger aircrafts.

“The phase-II expansion of Puducherry Airport depends on the 200 acres of land from the Tamil Nadu area. Since our financial resources are very limited, the required land could not be acquired. We have requested the Government of Tamil Nadu to acquire the land and hand it over to AAI, but there is no satisfactory progress in that direction,” the Minister said.

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