Maharashtra to launch airports in nine small cities in a year | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra to launch airports in nine small cities in a year

The new airports will make travel to smaller cities easier and affordable

mumbai Updated: Jul 23, 2017 01:26 IST
Manasi Phadke

In one year, nine airports in small cities across the state could start operations.

The new airports will make travel to smaller cities easier and affordable. The Maharashtra government is planning to get the nine airports working under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme.

The state has tied up with aircraft carriers for airports at Nanded, Solapur, Kolhapur and Jalgaon, and has started operation of one route at Nanded airport. It is also planning to connect Nashik, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Gondia and Amravati under the scheme, and is offering a host of incentives to make services to these airports viable.

“We plan to start services at all nine airports in the next one year. TruJet, which is operating services at Nanded airport, has started a Nanded-Hyderabad flight, and plans to start a Mumbai sector by September,” said Valsa Nair Singh, the principal secretary in charge of civil aviation in the state government.

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“We also hope to begin services at Jalgaon, Solapur and Kolhapur in the next two or three months.” For the Jalgaon, Solapur and Kolhapur airports, the state has tied up with Air Deccan, which won the bid the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation floated to operate services from these airports. “The next stage of bidding is scheduled in September,” Singh said.

The state will also provide security and fire services to the airports free of charge, give a concession on water charges and provide any land required for expansion free of charge. As it cannot directly underwrite seats for airlines, the state is in talks with industry bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industries, to give aircraft carriers a kind of a guarantee their executives will fly these sectors.

The Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation owns and operates Amravati and Solapur airports; Gondia and Jalgaon airports are under Airports Authority of India; Indian Coast Guard and HAL own and operate Ratnagiri and Nashik airports. MIDC owns Nanded, Kolhapur, and Sindhudurg. These are operated by Reliance, AAI and IRB.