02 September 2016

The Hindu

Gujarat signs MoU to build small airports

The Gujarat government has inked a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to develop 11 small airports and airstrips under the Centre’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) to boost regional air connectivity in the State.

As per the MoU provisions, Gujarat and the Centre will jointly undertake development and upgrading of infrastructure in 11 unserved or underserved airports and airstrips in Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Jamnagar, Surat, Porbandar, Mehsana, Mandavi, Amreli, Kandla, Keshod and Deesa. The Centre will provide the financial resources under viability gap funding of the RCS.

With the MoU, signed in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, Gujarat became the third State after Jharkhand and Maharashtra to have signed such an agreement to seek the Centre’s support to provide financial assistance to create infrastructural facilities in small airports.

Subsidies for operators

“Besides infrastructure development, there will be subsidies for private airlines operators so that they are attracted to start regional short route air services within the State,” Mr. Raju told the media in Gandhinagar.

Another key component of the subsidy will be cheaper aviation turbine fuel (ATF) at two per cent excise and reduced VAT (value added tax).

Mr. Raju also said the AAI will upgrade its facilities and infrastructure at Surat airport, while the proposed Dholera airport will be developed under Public Private partnership (PPP).