PARLIAMENTARY CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL AVIATION MEETS TO DISCUSS AIRPORT INFRASTRUCTURE AND AIR CONNECTIVITY WITH RESPECT OF SOUTH INDIA

The meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Civil Aviation met at Cochin in Kerala today. It was chaired by Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Praful Patel. The meeting focused on discussions on airport infrastructure and air connectivity in Southern India.

The Members of the Committee were informed that air traffic during 2005-06 had undergone a massive increase over 2004-05: aircraft movements had gone up by 17%, passengers up by 24% and cargo up by 10%. Across the airports of Southern Indian itself, aircraft movements had gone up by 30%, passengers up by 33% and cargo up by 10%. Southern India accounts for almost 1/3rd share of the entire air traffic of the country. In the year 2005-06 aircraft movement in the country was 0.84 million of which 0.26 million was in Southern India – 30.9 %. Total passenger traffic in India during this period was 73.35 million of which Southern India accounted for 22.24 million – 30.3% of the total. 1404 metric tonne cargo was handled all over the country in 2005-06 of which 445 thousand metric tonne – 31.7% was handled in South India alone.

There are at present 29 airports in Southern India. Scheduled air services are available to and from 19 airports which include five in Andhra Pradesh – Hyderabad, Rajahmundry, Tirupati, Vijayawada and Vizag; five in Karnatka – Banglaore, Belgaum, Hubli, Mangalore and Vidyanagar, three in Kerala – Calicut, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram, five in Tamil Nadu – Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichi and Tuticorin and one in Lakshadweep – Agatti. Besides there are seven operational airports of which three are in Andhra Pradesh, one in Karnataka, two in Tamil Nadu and one in Pondicherry which have been used for small aircraft operations and flying club activities.Air Deccan provides the maximum connectivity in Southern Indian connecting 18 stations in the region. Besides Indian Airlines connects 10 stations – Alliance Air 4 stations – Jet Airways 9 stations – Air Sahara 6 stations – Paramount 8 stations – Kingfisher 12 stations – Spice Jet 3 stations – Go Air 4 stations and IndiGo 3 stations.

The air connectivity across the country is being increased in the summer of 2007. In the Southern region the number of weekly departures would be going up from the present 2938 departures per week in the Winter Schedule 2006 to 3734 departures per week in the Summer Schedule of 2007 – an increase of 27%. In the Western region the present departures of 2534 per week would go up to 3219 in the summer schedule of 2007 – increase of 27%. In the Northern region 2132 departures per week would be going up to 2433 departures per week – increase of 14% and in the eastern and North-Eastern region the present 1034 weekly departures would go up to 1129 departures – a 19% increase. The summer schedule would become effective from the last Sunday of March 2007.

The Members reviewed in detail the infrastructure and connectivity to the Southern India. They also stressed upon aviation related development of tourism in this region. In this regard the Chairman, Shri Praful Patel informed the Members that the Ministry of Civil Aviation had moved a note to the FIPB for 100% FDI in sea plane so as to build connectivity and tourism along the long coastline of India and to provide connectivity and tourism opportunities to the Islands which have great potential for high-end tourism. Besides they also laid great emphasis on the various aspects of security in the aviation sector. The other issues discussed were – the ground handling policy, congestion charge, development of airports in Punjab, North East, Gujarat and other regions, performance of the private airport operators, connectivity to the holy places across the country, acquisition of smaller aircraft by Indian Airlines to link smaller places, pilot training, night landing facilities at Jammu and Srinagar Airport etc. Shri Patel also informed the Members of the Committee that Air India Express would start its operation from Hyderabad in the later part of 2007 providing connectivity to the Gulf Region.

Members of Parliament who were present at the meeting were: S/Shri Madhu Goud Yashki, Tapir Gao, Ratilal K. Verma, Ashok Argal, Tarit Baran Topdar, Santosh Bagrodia, Dr. M.S. Gill, Dr. (SMt.) Najma A. Heptulla, Tarlochan Singh, Dinesh Trivedi, Abdul Wahab Peevee, Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Rajjev Shukla. Shri P.J. Kurian, Member Parliament was special invitee to the meeting.

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