Setting aside an old rule that barred building an international airport within a 150 km radius of another, the government has okayed the construction of three new airports, civil aviation ministry sources said.
With this decision, the chances of the proposed airport at Greater Noida becoming a reality, despite the fact that it is only 72 kms from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, have brightened.
Dropping the rule, part of the Airport Infrastructure Policy formulated in 1997, the ministry has agreed to the setting up of airports at Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra and Kannur in Kerala — all three of which are within a 150 km radius of existing airports at Panaji, Mumbai and Kozhikode.
"The 150 km-rule is the only reason why the proposal for the Greater Noida airport was held up. There is no other major stumbling block," a civil ministry official said.
"Across the world there are many airports within a 150 km radius of each other," said aviation expert Tulsi Kesharwani. Many important cities including London, Paris and New York, have two airports.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is already on record disaproving of the rule restricting new airports.