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Take off to the suburbs

Today, if you have to travel from Delhi to Meerut, you don't have much of an option but to take that spittoon of a bus. Things may be different in future.

india Updated: May 22, 2006 10:12 IST

Today, if you have to travel from Delhi to Meerut, you don't have much of an option but to take that spittoon of a bus. But three years down the line, you could be waiting at the airport lounge, waiting for that plane to take you to Meerut.

That’s the future of civil aviation that government envisages — thousands of short distance flights to connect metros with smaller towns and even suburbs. While larger metro airports would end up with massive infra-structural facilities to serve as international transit hubs, all smaller airports will become hubs for regional connectivity.

Ministry sources said that in addition to the obvious connectivity benefits to people living in these areas, this would prove beneficial to tourism as foreign tourists would have easy access to destinations that are currently unpopular merely because of the lack of connectivity.

To ensure that this manner of connectivity comes through, the ministry has made provisions for several sops for regional connectivity in the draft Civil Aviation Policy, which should come into force later this year.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel says he wants to see 80-seater planes, planes with even smaller capacity and turbo prop aircraft flying virtually like public utility buses in the skies. To this end, sops will be offered to all those new entities which opt for flying in smaller regional networks connecting what are termed as B and C category towns, to the nearest metro.

These sops will not be offered to existing airlines and definitely not to those airlines, which connect more than one metro airport, said ministry sources. The sops would include a complete waiver on landing fees, parking fees, route navigation charges, ATC charges to begin with. Though these will be offered for a time-bound period, officials hope this will encourage smaller players to set up shop in ill-connected areas.