‘Kolkata, Chennai airports modernisation to begin next month’

August 11th, 2008 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) The modernisation work of Chennai and Kolkata airports, to be carried out by the Airports Authority of India, will start next month, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said here Monday. Speaking to the members of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Civil Aviation, Patel said the modernisation work would start soon after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs clears the projects.

“The modernisation plans for these airports have already been cleared by the Public Investment Board and detailed project reports submitted to the government for approval,” Patel said.

Expressing concern over the rising aviation fuel prices, he said the high taxes imposed on aviation fuel by the state governments had worsened the industry’s health.

Patel added that he took up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after which the government set up a panel headed by the cabinet secretary to assess and examine the problems of the aviation industry.

The first meeting of the panel is expected later this week.

Patel also assured the members that the Chandigarh Airport was not being renamed as Mohali Airport.

He added that the trial runs on the new third runway of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here would begin Aug 21 and commercial operations would start 10 days later.

“Once operational, it would go a long way to ease the air traffic congestion over the Delhi airspace,” the minister said.

Patel informed the committee members that a group of ministers (GoM) was looking into legalities of setting up a second airport in Delhi in view of the agreements the government had signed with the GMR-led consortium, which is modernising the Delhi airport.

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