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Bajpe airport suitable for handling cargo: AAI chief

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Cargo-capable:A view of the new integrated terminal building of the Bajpe airport.
Cargo-capable:A view of the new integrated terminal building of the Bajpe airport.

Staff Correspondent

‘There are no definite plans for the old terminal as yet'

The terminal will not be operational till June 1

Government yet decide on user development fee

MANGALORE: The airport terminal at Bajpe can be used to handle cargo traffic after the new integrated terminal building at Kenjar begins functioning, said V.P. Agrawal, Chairman of the Airports Authority of India.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Agrawal said that although there were no definite plans for the old terminal as yet, “we are open to anything as the building can be utilised for purposes such as education too”.

Mr. Agrawal said that there were two types of cargo. One was belly cargo, which was bulky. “Handling of belly cargo may not be feasible as the distance between the old and the new terminals is too much.” But it will be suitable for dedicated cargo, he said.

The new terminal will reduce commuting time as the distance between the airport and the city will be reduced by 7 km. Although the terminal will be inaugurated on Saturday, it will not be operational till June 1 as airlines require time to set up operations.

The new terminal has facilities such as segregation of domestic and international passengers, customs and immigration sections, and runways that can accommodate large aircraft. However, the final decision on declaring it an international airport rests with the Union Government, Mr. Agrawal said.

“The new terminal is fully air-conditioned, has modern amenities, and also docking facility. It will also be a customs airport. It can handle about 700 passengers at a time (500 domestic and 200 international). It has been built keeping in view the future growth rate of air traffic here. In accordance with the regulations, the fire service has been upgraded for the new terminal,” he said.

A new air traffic control room, estimated to cost Rs. 25 crore, has been sanctioned. The AAI has plans to develop a parallel taxiway, widen the existing taxiway and runway extension, and an approach lighting system for which it requires an estimated 10 to 15 acres of land, he said.

To a question, Mr. Agrawal said, “For a cost-intensive table-top runway, a user development fee will be unavoidable.” While the Government was sure to fix a user development fee, no decision had been taken in this regard as yet.

Mr. Agrawal thanked the State Government for its support in acquiring the land for the project and ensuring a good approach road for the new facility at Kenjar.

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