Govt. plans 50 new regional airports

    The Centre will setup 50 regional airports over the next three years, Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju said, adding that ten of them would be ready by the end of this year. Development of regional airports was a key component of the civil aviation policy, which suggested levies on airlines to fund creation of new airports in areas not well-connected by rail and road, such as the North-East and popular tourist destinations across the country. In this connection, the government is talking to all the state governments to provide concessions for these new airports which include low tax on ATF at 1 per cent and elimination of service tax at these airports. Maharashtra could lead the effort with six such airports to be ready in the next one year. In this connection, the ministry has already signed an MoU with the Maharashtra Government to facilitate regional air connectivity by making it affordable by enacting different concessions offered by the Union government, empowered group of ministers and operators. He said, that the government expects to raise Rs.500 crore per year by levying a tax on airlines flying to these routes while offering them concessions to offset the cost. The cost of each of these airports would be about Rs.50-100 crore.

    In Maharashtra, Shirdi airport is expected to begin operations from November, while others in Nanded, Sholapur, Kolhapur, Jalgaon , Gondia and Akola will follow suit, he added.
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