India's civil aviation sector to be in world's top five: Patel

India's civil aviation sector to be in world's top five: Patel

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister of State for Power Bharatsinh Solanki (L), Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Dinsha Patel (R), Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, interact during inauguration of a new terminal building at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on Sunday. PTI

"In the last six years we have been successful in bringing a revolution in India's civil aviation sector, I do not mind saying that," Patel said after inaugurating the new domestic-cum-international terminal at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) Airport here, which is likely to become operational from August 15.

"In 2004-05, we were considering our civil aviation sector as big, but at world level it was not much recognised. In just six years, India's civil aviation sector is ranked ninth in the world.

"In the next five years, India's civil aviation sector will be among the top five in the world," Patel said. Patel, who had laid the foundation of the building in 2007, said
inauguration of the new terminal at the Ahmedabad airport was a rare occasion. "It is a rare occasion when a minister lay the foundation of a building and inaugurates it too."

The Aviation Minister also expressed the need for more air services in Gujarat, looking at the development.

"There should be increase of air service in Gujarat be it Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, or Bhavnagar. Central Civil Aviation ministry would support all projects for Gujarat and we assure you there would be no discrimination," he said.

When Patel requested the Gujarat government to consider the viability gap funding (VGF) model of the Centre, Chief Minister Narendra Modi said, "In the VGF model for north eastern states, it is the Central government which is funding the gap for airline connectivity. If this is given to Gujarat, I will adopt it right now."

The Aviation Minister also felt that there was need of more air services in Gujarat looking at the development in the state. "There should be increase of air service in Gujarat be it Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, or Bhavnagar. Central civil aviation ministry would support all project for Gujarat and we assure you that there would be no discrimination," Patel said.

He also requested Gujarat government to have a look at the viability gap funding (VGF) model that the Centre has adopted of North-Eastern state for intra-state connectivity.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi present on the occasion, said that he would adopt VGF model today itself if it was same as given to north-eastern states.

"In the VGF model for north-eastern states, it is the central government which is funding the gap for airline connectivity. If this is given to Gujarat I would adopt it right now," Modi said, adding that VGF model needs to be studied further.

The new terminal constructed on the model of Changi airport in Singapore, will be the first in the country that will interlink an international terminal with domestic through an underground corridor having six travelators.

The eco friendly terminal constructed at a cost of Rs 316 crore has capacity to handle over 2,000 passengers and is equipped with software-enabled aerodrome operation control centre for optimum utilisation of resources like energy.

The terminal constructed on steel frames and glasses is fitted with energy efficient lights and does not requires any illumination during the day time due to it's unique architecture.

The terminal has 32 check-in counters that can be used by any of the airlines, five conveyor belts for smooth flow of baggage, four aerobridges, seven elevators, two information booths, 500 car parking facility, besides several escalators.

The new apron (aircraft parking space) has been constructed to cater for parking of nine A-321 and four ATR-72 type of aircraft. It would soon have new air traffic control tower and a new radar. It houses fountains inside the building as well as outside, and has state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant for recycling water that could used for horticulture purposes and meeting the water requirements for air conditioning.

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