Make Kempegowda Airport a 'point of call' destination: Baig

Make Kempegowda Airport a  'point of call' destination: Baig

State Infrastructure Minister Roshan Baig on Tuesday sought more aviation facilities in the State and urged the Centre to make the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru a “point of call” destination, while negotiating bilateral treaties with other countries.

Addressing a meeting of state civil aviation ministers on the draft Civil Aviation Policy, Baig said that the State appreciates the focus on developing Bengaluru as one of the six integrated multi-modal hubs.

“It is requested that Bengaluru be made a point of call during bilateral negotiations so that connectivity to foreign cities increases, for which there is a great demand,” Baig said. He sought assistance from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in developing airports in smaller towns.

“Aviation infrastructure in Karnataka looks promising with greenfield regional airports in Ballari, Hassan, Kalaburagi and Shivamogga being developed with private participation. However, due to unexpected problems, there has been limited progress in the construction of these airports,” he said.

Noting that the issues with respect to the Kalaburagi and Shivamogga airports are being sorted out, Baig said that the State government wanted the AAI to help the State in developing these airports.

The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for development of the Hassan airport has already been submitted to the AAI and the cost estimate for the expansion of the Mangaluru airport has been worked out and sent to the Centre, he said. These two projects may also be undertaken by AAI, Baig added.

“The AAI should play a proactive role in hand-holding the State government to develop these regional airports,” he said.

The minister said that the issue of taking over civilian operations at the Bidar airport was pending with the Civil Aviation Ministry and Hyderabad-based GMR Group. “However, we are yet to receive a positive response,” he said.

At present, the Defence Ministry is utilising the airport for its operations. The State had developed infrastructure required to commence civilian operations from the airport.

But, since it falls within a 150-km radius of the Hyderabad International airport, GMR had objected to commencement of operations. The concession agreement that the AAI had entered into with GMR disallows commencement of any new airport within a radius of 150 km.

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