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Centre mulls building 200 low-cost airports in two decades

Last Updated: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 17:25

Hyderabad: With smaller cities set to lead the air traffic growth in the country, the Centre is planning to build nearly 200 low-cost airports in the next 20 years to expand connectivity to Tier-II and Tier-III cities, a senior aviation official said Monday.

According to G Ashok Kumar, Joint Secretary of Civil Aviation, the industry was facing multiple challenges including high ATF costs, VAT, high landing and other operational costs and falling tariffs.

The state governments are not reducing the VAT (Value Added Tax) and other rates on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), he said while announcing the fourth edition of the international exhibition and conference on Civil Aviation - India Aviation 2014, will get underway at the Begumpet Airport here from March 12.

"The idea is to expand/develop low cost airports to meet the demand for air travel. The non-metro airports presently account for only about 30 per cent of the total air traffic, which is expected to rise to 45 per cent in the next few years," he said.

The five-day event, India Aviation 2014, jointly organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), will be inaugurated by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan among other dignitaries.

With the theme of 'Enhancing Air Connectivity', India Aviation 2014, in its fourth edition is the country's largest and the only focused event on Civil Aviation industry, Ashok Kumar told reporters.

Aerobatics display, which missed the third edition owing to the crashing of a trainer aircraft of Indian Navy's aerobatics team, Sagar Pawan, (that killed two naval pilots) during the 2010 edition, will make a comeback this year with aerobatics display by Mark Jefferies Air Shows of UK which will conduct acrobatic flight display twice daily.

"There will be two aerobatics performances daily by a two-aircraft team from London," Kumar said adding over 250 exhibitors from 18 countries will participate in the event.

Other attractions of this year's edition include fly-past by the world's largest passenger airline Airbus A380 plane (in-service aircraft) and the Air India's 14th Dreamliner 787 plane will fly to the event.

Aircraft majors including Boeing, Airbus, Beechcraft Corporation, Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, Piaggio, Rolls Royce, Russian Helicopters and others will display their products besides India exhibitors include Deccan Charters, HAL, Pawan Hans among others.

The event will be marked by a special session on helicopters including discussions on heli-tourism and heli emergency medical services during a workshop besides a job fair wherein students of final-year of aeronautic courses will be exposed to the various technologies.

This year, the US is the partner country and France is the Guest Country, Kumar explained.

Apart from static aircraft displays, other attractions of this event also include meeting of Civil Aviation Advisory Committee, discussions on aviation component manufacturing segment, aviation theatre showcasing fiction, non-fiction and technology films, Kumar said.

"The event will witness big deal/agreements including on purchase of aircraft," he said.

The show would be open for Business visitors for the first three days and for general public the next two days (March 15 and March 16).

First Published: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 17:25
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