Monday, June 11, 2007

Govt planning to allow airports on private land: Patel

Mumbai, June 12: Faced with a shortage of infrastructure in the country, government is planning to allow setting up of airports on private land.

Speaking at the 3rd Annual Aviation and Tourism Investor Summit organised by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation in Mumbai on Monday, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the government is also working on a proposal to allow regional airlines, which could operate in more than one metro city.

However, they will have to be new players as the existing airlines operating at the national level would not be allowed to operate a regional-level service. "The licences given for the regional carriers will be distinct from those given to the national carriers", he said.

There will be some inbuilt incentives for the operators providing regional services. Their capital requirements will be lower as there are certain incentives available for smaller aircraft. Besides, the landing and parking charges are lower at regional airports, he said.

The government will shortly call a meeting of chief ministers of various states to discuss aviation issues and will also discuss the issue of regional airlines, the minister said. Patel also informed the gathering that the government was considering a proposal to allow private merchant airports.

If any private party has the required land and if the location of the land meets certain parameters, government can favourably consider an airport on that land, he said. Patel said the government was keen to expand the airport infrastructure in the country. "We are looking for more than one airport in a metro", he said, adding that "no Indian should be beyond 5 km from an airport."


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