Govt flying school plans small plane connectivity to districts

With admissions complete for the first batch of students after a gap of 14 years, the Government Flying Training School (GFTS) here is on a high.

Hoping to span its wing further, the school has a proposal ready to convince the government for small plane connectivity of the various districts in Karnataka.

“The Small Plane Air Network (SPAN) was prepared sometime last year. But, given the status of the school then nothing much had happened. Now, with a new government in place and the school having begun functioning again, a fresh submission of the plan is being planned,” sources said.

SPAN envisages not only connecting various districts for the purpose of tourism but also for responsive and effective governance and, tackling emergencies, especially medical.
“It is interesting to note that, most of the times air connectivity required is limited to a few people (ministers, bureaucrats, businessmen) who want to quickly visit a place and return to the major town the same day.

“ For this, the use of small aircraft may be more appropriate as they can operate from small airstrips which can be made available on the outskirts of all small towns and cities, very economically,” the plan, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, says.

The school has two kinds of proposals. One to be implemented through a public-private partnership (PPP) model and another with State funding.

Pointing out that such a system would prove more effective and also economical compared to a travel by car to many places, the plan suggests that the government can make use of existing infrastructure.

Airstrips

The State currently has operational airports or strips at Jakkur, Mangalore, Hubli, Belgaum, Bidar, Koppal (private owned by MSPL) and Mysore. “Further, the katcha (mud) surface airstrip at Hassan, Chikmagalur, Bellary and Davangere can be made functional at a very low cost of Rs 10 lakh each,” the proposal says. Besides, it proposes taking up studies at pre-identified districts where such strips can be developed.

The State government owns the aircraft and many small airstrips in Karnataka. In fact, it has been desirous of using the GFTS infrastructure at Jakkur, Bangalore, with the backup of HAL airfield, the report says.

The school presently has one microlite aircraft and a four-seater Cessna 172 Seahawk and plans to procure a twin-engine plane along with another microlite aircraft, which can all be used for SPAN.

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