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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

UP’s aviation sector set for greater heights

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, August 05, 2013
First Published: 12:21 IST(5/8/2013) | Last Updated: 12:24 IST(5/8/2013)

Top companies in the aviation sector have evinced keen interest in the privatisation of Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport at Lucknow and the international airport projects at Kushinagar and Agra.

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Around 16 firms have sent in their enquiries to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the state government in this regard.

AAI officials are also buoyed over the interest shown by companies like GMR and GVR in the proposed R350- crore airport project in Kushinagar, Agra and privatisation of Lucknow airport.

The Centre had recently given a nod to privatisation of operations at 15 airports in the country including Lucknow.

The AAI also floated projects for construction of airports at Kushinagar and Agra under public private partnerships (PPP).

Besides, news about the proposed privatisation of Lucknow airport has also created murmurs among private players because this international airport has gradually seen a rise in footfall.

Apart from this, the expansion of the airport is also on cards. The state government has promised full support to the AAI in possession of around 174 acres of land near the airport where some illegal construction had taken place.

The airport projects at Kushinagar, Agra and Lucknow under the PPP model have raised hopes that some advanced airports in UP would boost aviation business in the state.

The state government also wants to upgrade facilities at Kanpur airport to reduce air traffic at Lucknow airport where the footfall has crossed 20 lakh per annum.

To operate flights during night hours, UP government has also sought permission from the ministry of defence for allowing night landing facility at the Kanpur airport (which is built on their land).

An official of the AAI confirmed that there is a proposal to identify land in Kanpur Dehat for setting up a new airport.

“The officials concerned have been directed to draft an action plan and come up with a proposal as soon as possible,” he said.

He said even union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had written to the state to provide around 40 acres land to the AAI for expansion of infrastructure at the airport in Kanpur as the city is one of the busiest industrial centres of the country.

Suresh Chandra Hota, director, Lucknow airport, says, “We have some expansion plans regarding Lucknow airport.

NK Srivastava, secretary, civil aviation ministry visited the state capital to discuss the progress of various projects with top officials here.”

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