Air India not to operate flights to Mysore for now

Air India not to operate flights to Mysore for now

Low-cost carrier could fly inaugural flight

With this, the most likely inaugural flight on September 15, will be that of a private low-cost carrier. But, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is yet to accord final clearance to commence commercial operations and will have to first, conduct a pre-opening inspection by sending a DGCA team.

When contacted, Dr S A Nasim Zaidi, Director General of Civil Aviation told Deccan Herald from New Delhi that his office is yet to receive a full proposal from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) saying the airport is fully developed for commercial operations. “We will send a team for final inspection as and when the AAI proposal is received. As of today, we have not received anything,” he said. On allowing an inaugural flight, Dr Zaidi said it is being considered.

Meanwhile, Jitender Bhargava, executive director (Corporate Communications), Air India said: “We have no immediate plan to use the airport at Mysore,” but also maintained that if the situation so demanded in the future, they are not averse to it.

Given the present situation, highly placed sources say that that a private low-cost carrier will make the inaugural flight into the new airport with an aircraft comparable to a ATR-72, a 70-seater passenger airline.

A high level discussion to this effect was held here on Tuesday between representatives of various private airlines and the Principal Secretary, Infrastructure Development Department  V Madhu, to chalk out a final decision on the flights that would operate to and from Mysore.

AI to reconsider?

“Air India chief Arvind Jadhav could be requested to operate a flight to Mysore. If they have decided not to operate to the new airport, we would like them to reconsider the decision. Jet Airways has expressed keen interest to operate flights to the new airport and Kingfisher has told us that they are examining the proposal,” said a source in the government.

The airport, wholly owned by the government and operated by the AAI, is currently equipped with a runway length of 1.74 km and can accommodate only aircraft, the size of an ATR-72 and similar small flights.

The State government has already announced upgradation of the runway length to anywhere between 2.4 to 2.6 km, to allow an A320 size aircraft to land or take-off from Mandakalli, in the second phase. AAI officials explained that the DGCA will have to consider two kinds of clearances. One, to permit an inaugural flight first,  or to allow commercial operations at a later stage, after inspection.

Originally envisaged on 175 acres of land, the Mysore airport saw an acquisition of 220 more acres in the Phase 1, while another 350 acres is under acquisition stage for Phase 2. A memorandum of understanding was signed on October 6, 2005, between AAI and Government of Karnataka, to develope the existing facilities at Mandakalli.

However, an official from the AAI said the State government has chosen an inappropriate time to have the airport opened, considering that a majority of domestic carriers are still to recover from their turbulent times. “In addition to this, road and rail connectivity to Mysore is good,” he said.

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