The Modi government will soon beef up air connectivity to tier-2 and 3 cities that accommodate nearly 30 crore people, said civil aviation minister Mahesh Sharma, who was here to list the achievements of Modi government on completion of two years and future plans. He said the Centre will soon come out with a policy to make the air travel affordable for the common man by introducing a cap on airfare on the basis of duration of the flight.
The Union cabinet will soon come out with a policy for using airstrips across the country for commercial purposes. “Air travel at economical rates will become a reality soon,” said Sharma.
“India has 484 airstrips of which only 84 are in use. Now, the government plans to use these airstrips for commercial purposes. This will provide air connectivity to tier-2 and 3 cities and also boost tourism,” said the minister. He said the policy will be cleared in the next cabinet meeting.
“The aim is to offer air travel at economical rates to nearly 30 crore people living in medium and small cities. The government has decided to bring a clause under which airfare for an hour’s travel won’t exceed Rs 2,500,” he said. He said, in the first phase, 100 airstrips will be made operational for domestic flights with the help of private players.
Regarding absence of regular flights from Shimla and international flights from Chandigarh, he refused to comment, saying the matter was sub judice. “But, I assure you that Chandigarh airport will soon handle international flights,” he said.
The minister said the tourism and cultural ministry had decided to boost the tourism potential of Amritsar and Patiala. “Patiala city has immense tourism potential and the ministry has decided to allocate funds for renovating the heritage sites there,” he said.