Government considering regional airline for northeast

April 10th, 2008 - 10:45 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) The central government is considering a dedicated regional airline for the northeastern states, a top aviation official said Thursday. According to K.N Srivastava, joint secretary of civil aviation ministry, a dedicated regional airline would boost connectivity in the eight northeastern states.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on aviation, Aerodrome India 2008, he said: “We are giving a serious thought at having an exclusive regional airline for northeastern area of our country. About 90 percent of the funds for the airline will be borne by the central government and 10 percent would be paid by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other concerned agencies.”

The northeastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura - continue to reel under poor road and air connectivity.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in August 2007 notified the minimum requirements for grant of permit to operate scheduled regional air transport services.

For regional airlines, which have been described as a scheduled airline that operates primarily in a designated region, the country has been divided into four regions.

The guidelines specify one metro airport in each region except the south, where Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad have been designated.

Srivastava’s remarks follow President Pratibha Patil’s recent announcement in parliament that the government was committed to improving air connectivity in the northeast by upgrading 18 airports, with greenfield airports in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Northeastern Council has been collaborating with the AAI to upgrade 18 airports in the region, Srivastava added.

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