Centre looking into Nanded airport matter on priority: Jyotiradtiya Scindia - Hindustan Times
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Centre looking into Nanded airport matter on priority: Jyotiradtiya Scindia

ByAbhya Adlakha
Dec 04, 2023 03:38 PM IST

Scindia said that many routes that had been wiped off India’s civil aviation map have been brought back due to efforts by PM Modi

The expansion of pilot training institutes in the country is going to increase in the coming days, civil aviation minister Jyotiradtiya Scindia said on Monday at the beginning of the winter session of Parliament in New Delhi.

Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia speaks in the Rajya Sabha on the first day of the winter session of Parliament on Monday. (PTI Photo)
Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia speaks in the Rajya Sabha on the first day of the winter session of Parliament on Monday. (PTI Photo)

“The country that had only 74 airports in 65 years will now have 149 airports, helipads, and water domes under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We have more than doubled the number in nine-and-a-half years and our priority is to increase this even further. The capacity of planes has also increased — Air India has placed an order for 470 planes, and Indigo has ordered 500 aircraft. In the coming days, we’re going to work on increasing this capacity,” Scindia said.

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Speaking on the issue of Nanded airport, one of the five airports that the Maharashtra government took back from the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Airport Developers (RADPL), Scindia said there are issues with the operation of routes at Nanded because of low economic returns incurred by airlines, and problems with private developers who were handed the airport.

“Our advisory committee has raised this issue several times. When airlines started functioning at Nanded airport, some of them were unable to make economic returns, so some flights were reduced. But providing connectivity to Nanded is a priority for our government, not only because Nanded is a key location in Maharashtra, but also because it’s a place of significance for the Sikh community,” Scindia said.

He added that some of the issues are not from the airlines, also because the airport was given to a private sector firm that couldn’t complete the operation.

“This airport was given to the private sector because it does not belong to the central government. It belongs to the state government. The private sector has also not paid the fees of the Airport Authority of India till date. I’m also discussing with the state government, and we feel if the Maharashtra government can take it under its control and make it popular, we can commence routes at the airport,” Scindia said.

When asked why only 7% of the awarded routes have managed to sustain operations in India beyond the three-year concession period, Scindia said that many routes that had been wiped off India’s civil aviation map have been brought back due to efforts by PM Modi.

“Under the Udan scheme, 76 airports that were never on the civil aviation map of India have been made possible only due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Today 1.3 lakh passengers, who never dreamt of travelling by aircraft earlier, could do it under the Udan scheme. Moreover, it is because of PM Modi’s vision that today 2.75 lakh flights in India operate due to the visibility gap funding that has been proposed and given by the central government for this scheme. Because of his vision, the Northeast, which was always looked at as the farthest point in India, has been brought into the mainstream and nine new airports have been constructed, of which six were possible only because of the Udan scheme,” Scindia added.

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