Immense scope in maintenance, refuelling areas: Venugopal

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation is working towards making the Thiruvananthapuram international airport an aviation hub to take advantage of the immense opportunities in aircraft maintenance and refuelling, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal has said.

He was addressing a press conference here on Wednesday after handing over the certificate of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to Air India Chief of Engineering H.R. Jagannath to commence the ‘C’ check of aircraft at the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility of Air India Charters Limited (AICL), a fully-owned subsidiary of the Air India, in the vicinity of the airport here.

Describing it as a ‘milestone’ in the aviation history as the capital had become the fourth city in the country to be on the MRO map, Mr. Venugopal said the MRO would soon start the groundwork to get the approval of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and later the Federal Aviation Administration.

To a query, Mr. Venugopal said his Ministry was yet to receive the report on the proposed Air Kerala mooted by the State government. The Ministry was for further development of the Thiruvananthapuram airport and land acquisition had to be taken up by the State government. On the proposed Aranmula airport, he said it was coming up in the private sector and the Ministry had no role in it. Mr. Venugopal said all formalities to provide tourist visa on arrival at the airport had been completed. It would be launched soon.

The airline had been asked to make reservation foolproof in the wake of recent complaints. The government had already given Rs.2,000 crore to Air India as part of the Rs.6,000-crore turnaround package and the remaining amount would be given soon. The Air India Express (AIE) had invited applications for the recruitment of 40 pilots, he said.

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