'Underutilised' Mysore airport to be expanded for future needs

'Underutilised' Mysore airport to be expanded for future needs

NHAI requested to realign part of NH 212 to help upgrade facility

'Underutilised' Mysore airport to be expanded for future needs

Infrastructure Development Minister Roshan Baig said on Thursday that the State government would take up expansion of the Mysore airport, keeping in mind the future development of the City of Palaces, despite the fact that the existing facility has remained under-utilised.

Speaking to reporters, he said he had recently asked the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) to go ahead with the acquisition of land required for the expansion.

Besides, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been requested to work on the realignment of the Mysore-Nanjangud stretch of National Highway 212 to pave the way for the expansion, he said.

Asked about private airlines not finding Mysore a viable commercial destination to operate flights, he said: “I do agree that the existing airport is not commercially viable. But we have to plan for the future. Mysore is going to develop as a major tourist destination in the future. We have to use our common sense,” he said.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) developed the existing airport at Mandakalli on the outskirts of Mysore at a cost of Rs 82 crore in 2009.

The existing airport is designed to operate short-haul flights. But airline companies have not found Mysore a lucrative destination to operate. Currently, Spicejet is operating a 78-seater aircraft five days a week (excluding Tuesdays and Saturdays), with about 50 per cent occupancy, to Mysore.

The previous BJP government had shelved the expansion plan based on a report from civil aviation experts that it will not be viable.

Moreover, the AAI has informed the State government that it will not take up expansion works till the Mysore-Nanjangud stretch is realigned – diverting a five-km stretch between Bandipalya and Kadakola.

On the other hand, the NHAI has commenced work to upgrade the stretch into a four-lane road.

Baig said the airport expansion is aimed at operating wide-bodied aircraft like Boeing and Airbus to Mysore in the future. The expansion, which includes increasing the runway length from 1,740 metres to 2,400 metres, will require an estimated 180 acres of additional land.

Gulbarga airport

Minister Baig said that the work on the construction of the Gulbarga greenfield airport will resume soon. IL&FS, a private company that was part of the consortium (Gulbarga Airport Developers Private Limited), has agreed to resume the work. A legal dispute had arisen among the companies in the consortium about two years ago, affecting the construction work.

He said he will soon hold talks with GMR group and officials of the Civil Aviation ministry on opening the Bidar defence airport for civilian traffic.

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