Punjab seeks help to save Amritsar airport from closure

November 7th, 2008 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghChandigarh, Nov 7 (IANS) The Punjab council of ministers Friday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government to initiate steps to save the Rajasansi international airport from closure because of high levies.The ministers also urged union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Commerce Minister Kamal Nath to take immediate steps to ensure that international as well as domestic flights to the Amritsar airport were not discontinued and expansion work at the airport be completed at the earliest.

A meeting of the Punjab council of ministers here moved a resolution demanding that the civil aviation ministry immediately lower the landing charges at the airport.

A Punjab government spokesman said landing charges in Amritsar were nearly double of that at Delhi airport, forcing international airlines like Singapore Airlines, to announce discontinuation of flights from Amritsar.

The resolution said the basic purpose of starting international flights from Amritsar was to decongest the Delhi airport as 29 percent of international air traffic at the national capital was from Punjab.

It said the civil aviation ministry was charging Rs.154,000 landing charges per flight at Amritsar from Singapore Airlines as compared to Rs.75,000 at Delhi Airport. Similarly, Jet Airways was shelling out Rs.94,000 as landing fee for domestic flights compared Rs.69,000 paid by it in Delhi.

It was pointed out the nearly double landing charges in Amritsar were making flights from this airport unviable for the airlines.

Punjab has millions of Non-Resident Indians settled in the United States, Canada, European countries and other places who keep flying in and out of the state round the year.

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