Puducherry airport terminal comes into use
Even as the Puducherry airport terminal was being inaugurated on Saturday, most of the dignitaries focused on future expansion plans.
In order for the airport to accommodate larger flights, the government needs to acquire 200 acres of land, some of which belongs to Tamil Nadu.
Once the Tamil Nadu provides land for the expansion, the Airports Authority of India has no dearth of funds to expand it, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ajit Singh said in his speech at the inauguration.
“There are provisions for expanding the new terminal as and when demand arises. Request for allocation of appropriate land has already been placed with the concerned authorities and we are confident of getting a favourable response from the State Government,” he said.
Speaking at the function, Union Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said SpiceJet was considering increasing the number of flights to four per week. They had also received a request from the Meridian Group to expand the runway so that they could run chartered flights. All this required additional funding.
He also encouraged the Chief Minister to get in touch with the Tamil Nadu Government in order to acquire land for the expansion of the airport. He would do his best to get funding from the Centre as a Member of Parliament, he said.
Mr. Narayanasamy also requested that the airport terminal be named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Responding to Mr. Narayanasamy’s speech, Chief Minister N. Rangasamy said that they had asked the Tamil Nadu Government for land on several occasions, and the Puducherry Government has been told that they will receive the required land.
He also said that with the financial crisis in the Union Territory, the Central Government needed to help with the funding for the second stage of development.
The Centre also needed to continue funding various projects in the UT.
In the meanwhile, the Puducherry Government was providing electricity and water for the airport for the next five years. They were also considering encouraging other airlines to come to the Puducherry airport by reducing the VAT on aviation fuel by one per cent, he said.
According to Welfare Minister P. Rajavelu, who also holds the tourism portfolio, the next effort for the airport will be to provide land for the setting up of an aviation fuel station.
He also made a request to Mr. Ajit Singh to divert Air India ATR flights to Puducherry and to allow flights with full passenger capacity and night landing facilities.
Lieutenant Governor Iqbal Singh, Union Minister of State K.C. Venugopal and Member (Planning) of the Airports Authority of India S. Raheja spoke.
The airport currently has the capacity to cater to 150 passengers at a time and a runway that allows the operation of ATR-72 aircrafts.