Flight operations to stop at Hubli airport for two months

Flight operations to stop at Hubli airport for two months

The twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad will have no air connectivity for at least two months from August 1, as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will take up an expansion project. However, small aircraft such as four to six-seaters and helicopters can land at the airport.

Spicejet has been operating two flights per day on the Hubli-Bangalore, Hubli-Delhi-Jabalpur-Mumbai routes. The airline will provide service from Belgaum city during the period. Spicejet is the only service provider from Hubli.

The AAI will increase the length of the runway from 4,500 ft to 7,500 ft and width from 90 ft to 135 ft, at a cost of Rs 60 crore. It is feared that the project would get delayed as the Hubli-Dharwad City Corporation and other local utility providers are not co-operating.

Though the Public Works Department (PWD) has handed over three km of the road (major district road) that has been acquired for expansion, the urban local body and the traffic police have not taken steps to stop vehicular movement on the stretch.

The AAI had taken steps to block the road on July 5, but the Corporation re-opened it after residents staged a protest. The Corporation and the local power utility have not allowed AAI to remove their signboards and electricity poles along the road, sources said.

They said that Spicejet has thus decided to suspend its operations from Hubli indefinitely. It is not sure when the project would be completed. AAI Director, Hubli airport, K M Basavaraju, refused to comment on the road issue.

The expansion project, he said, is scheduled to be completed in two months. If everything goes as per plan, the project will be over well within two months, he added.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, who is also in charge of Hubli-Dharwad district, said there was no need to block traffic on the road. The AAI has been unnecessarily making it an issue. Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the expansion project is completed within the scheduled time, he added.

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