Plans underway to develop 300 unused airstrips

April 20th, 2008 - 6:59 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Aiming to facilitate the burgeoning private jet industry, the government is firming plans to develop over 300 airstrips in the country presently lying idle. A senior official in the Airports Authority of India told IANS that the civil aviation ministry and the AAI are actively considering developing the unused airstrips.

“The development of unused airstrips will be taken up in a phased manner after the expansion and development of 35 non-metro airports has been completed - by the scheduled 2010,” said the official.

The government is also exploring the possibility of starting work on expansion and development of the unused airstrips by June next year. “It will all depend on the funds available for the purpose,” said the official.

A spokesperson of the AAI said development of the unused airstrips would decongest air traffic and reduce the burden on major airports.

Moreover, the ministry is taking initiative to improve facilities for the private aircraft sector away from major air infrastructure centres.

The plan is also to focus on airstrips near major cities as this would relieve the major airports, which are already clogged with the scheduled aviation sector, said officials.

The ministry has also formulated a new policy to allow for private airstrips and forwarded this to the cabinet for clearance.

According to data available with the ministry and the industry, the demand for corporate jets in India has drastically gone up in the past couple of years and is expected to double by the end of 2011.

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