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Navi Mumbai airport could start by 2020, says Jayant Sinha

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-04-2017 Tarun Shukla

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry expects the first phase of the much delayed Navi Mumbai airport to take off by 2020, reducing some of the pressure on the Mumbai airport

Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha said on Friday that a runway and terminal building should come up at the Navi Mumbai airport by 2020.

The Mumbai airport at present is choked and airlines continuously complain of no slots and aircraft parking. Flights also have to hold over Mumbai airport sometimes, leading to frustrated passengers.

Sinha said there were several reasons why the airport was taking long to come up, including the fact that the area where the airport will come up is marshy.

“It will take significant amount of time to resolve the issues. We also need to accelerate and expedite the process as much as possible,” he said.

Sinha was addressing the CII Annual Session 2017 in the capital where he stressed the ministry was taking steps to beef up infrastructure. Several airports will be modernised over the coming year with funds allocated by the finance ministry and Airports Authority of India.

The aviation ministry also plans to have a second round of bidding for airlines for routes under the government’s regional air connectivity scheme, Udan, soon. This could be completed in the next three months, Sinha said at a press conference the same evening.

The regional aviation scheme, which will be in operation for 10 years, envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served cities and towns by reviving existing airstrips and airports. This would be achieved by providing financial stimulus in the form of central and state government concessions, as well as viability gap funding for interested airlines to kick off operations while ensuring passenger fares are kept affordable.

The fare for a one-hour journey of about 500km on a fixed wing aircraft or a 30-minute journey on a helicopter will be capped at Rs2,500, with proportionate pricing for routes of different lengths and duration.

Prime Minister Modi flagged off the first Udan flight from Shimla to Delhi on Thursday at Shimla airport. He also launched Trujet flights connecting Hyderabad-Nanded and Hyderabad-Kadapa via video conferencing.

Sinha also indicated that the ministry was working on a no-fly list which will be drawn up based on both safety and security considerations.

The contours of this list are still being consulted upon.

The need for a no-fly list came up after Shiv Sena Member of Parliament, Ravindra Gaikwad assaulted an Air India staffer in March this year.

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