Work on the construction of greenfield airports at Gulbarga and Shimoga, taken up simultaneously in April, is progressing satisfactorily and both the airports are likely to be operationalised as scheduled in mid-2012.

A spokesperson for Regional Airport-Holding International (RAHI) Limited said here on Monday that after their inauguration, the airports would be the first private regional airports run by the RAHI in the country.

The construction of the runway of Gulbarga airport from zero to 1,900 metres was progressing, and so far earth work of Sub Grade Layer (SGL) has been completed and the first layer of Granular Sub Base (GSB) has been completed at the end of the Runway End and Safety Area (RESA). Apart from this, the first layer of the GSB has been laid up to 475 metres.

She said that the earthwork for the SGL has completed for the proposed apron taxiway and isolation bay. The authorities have now taken up the excavation for the proposed fire station building. She said that the 90 per cent of the construction of the site office building and the testing centre had been completed and the survey of the approach road was in advanced stage of completion.

In Shimoga, laying of the subgrade layer from zero to 1,500 metres has been completed and filling of the subgrade layer up to 2010 metres of the runway was in progress. Filling and levelling work on both ends of the Runway End and Safety Area has been completed. She said the stripping for approach road and cutting was in progress. The authorities have now taken up the field density tests at Shimoga.

The spokesperson said RAHI proposed to invest during the next five years in over 15 aviation infrastructure and services projects with a value of more than Rs. 3,000 crores.

RAHI is a joint venture of IL&FS Transportation Networks Limited (ITNL), an infrastructure development group.

“RAHI has a three-pronged strategy for regional aviation, specifically in tier-II and tier-III cities. We will not only develop airports and associated infrastructure but also have our own regional airline that will serve tier-II and tier-III cities. RAHI will develop geo-specific industry clusters that will bolster opportunity for the host community, encourage the local economy, as well as create the need for efficient travel to and from these locations,” the spokesperson said

RAHI expects to operationalise its regional airline in tandem with the two airports becoming operational. Discussions have begun with aircraft manufacturers to source aircraft.