[ecis2016.org] In a move to boost connectivity to smaller cities and towns, the central government has approved a project of Rs 4,500 crores, to revive 50 unserved and under-served airports and airstrips of state governments, the Airports Authority of India and civil enclaves
The cabinet, on March 6, 2017, approved a proposal to revive 50 unserved and under-served airports as well as airstrips, at an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crores. With the plan, the government is looking to enhance air connectivity to small cities and towns, while the revival of such airports and airstrips would be demand-driven. The proposal was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by prime minister Narendra Modi.
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“The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 4,500 crores. 15 airports/airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19, while 20 airports/airstrips would be revived during 2019-20,” an official release said. As many as 50 unserved and under-served airports and airstrips of state governments, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and civil enclaves would be covered.
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“Small cities/towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served/unserved airports. It will further boost the economic development in these areas, as well as surrounding areas, in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development,” the release said.
While noting that the revival plan would be ‘demand-driven’, the government said it would depend on firm commitment from airline operators, as well as the state governments, in terms of providing various concessions. The unserved and under-served airports are to be developed “without insisting on financial viability”, the release said.
In the union budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced plans for making adequate provisions for revival of unserved and under-served airports. To make flying more affordable, the government has already unveiled the ambitious regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik), under which fares are to be capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights.
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