Special Correspondent

Removal of clause on not allowing any airport in 150-km radius of a new airport considered

HYDERABAD: The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) will prepare a business plan for Begumpet Airport, which was closed for commercial operations from Sunday, on how best it can be utilised. Helicopter services, mainly to connect to Shamshabad airport, are part of the proposed activity.

Talking to presspersons on the sidelines of an international conference on infrastructure here on Wednesday, Joint Secretary in the MoCA K. N. Shrivastava said that the Begumpet airport would also have an air traffic control training centre. Besides, it would be useful for VIP movements, defence purposes and unscheduled aircraft landings.

Mr. Shrivastava said that the MoCA was also considering removing the clause of not allowing any airport in the radius of 150 km from a new airport in the upcoming policy on greenfield airports. The Union Cabinet’s approval for new airstrips or airports might also be done away with. A new technology would be deployed to ensure that ATCs in the country would be inter-connected so as to avoid delay in landings.

Considering the experience in Hyderabad and Bangalore airports, the Ministry would ensure calling for bids and having the connectivity projects executed in sync with the airport development. He said: “The Union Government will provide up to 30 per cent of cost of the connectivity projects to the State Government, as the connectivity involves double the cost of setting up the airport.”

User development fee

Mr. Shrivastava, who made a presentation at the conference, said that the Government understood the need for smaller airports than very big ones. He said the user development fee to be levied on domestic travellers would be “affordable” and the passengers wouldn’t mind paying that sum. Considering the security issues, not more than three players – national carrier, airport operator and a private party – would be allowed to take up ground handling, but not the other airlines.

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