The state government is set to sign an MoU with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for development of 10 airports in the state. The decision is in line with the Union government’s regional connectivity scheme. The 10 airports — Kolhapur, Shirdi, Amravati, Gondia, Nashik, Jalgaon, Nanded, Solapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg — with the state contributing 20% cost of viability gap funding.
The biggest promise the state is offering to aviation companies is the financial support for viability gap funding, where the government will pay for every vacant seat for the first few months when scheduled flights will commence from these 10 cities.
State revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said, “The memorandum of understanding will be signed on Tuesday in Mumbai with the AAI for making the existing airports operational. These airports do not have scheduled flights but there are a sizeable number of passengers from these airports to Mumbai.”
The cities like Kolhapur, Shirdi, Nashik and Nanded would also get religious tourists as passengers. Kolhapur has Mahalaxmi temple, while Nashik has several temples which attract a lot of tourists. Nanded has the second most important gurdwara of the Sikh community, while Shirdi in Ahmednagar district is famous for Sai Baba temple.
Patil said, “We will complete pending constructions, and facilitate land acquisition and bearing the cost of it. Funds for the remainig works such as erection of air control tower, night landing facilities, construction of bigger rest rooms. among others, will be coming from the Union government.”
“A major concern for the government will be getting suitable air slots in Mumbai airport so that these 10 cities can have morning flights to reach Mumbai in time and start the day,” Patil said.
When asked about the passenger traffic and capacity of planes, Patil said, “The decision would be taken by aviation companies because they would have a better idea of a city and its potential for air traffic. The aviation companies would bid accordingly for the cities and as per their availability of the fleet.”
The state cabinet while clearing the final draft of the MoU on Monday stated that the government will be providing facilities like fire brigade, electricity supply, and water either free of cost or at very subsidized rate.