State Governments should provide land free of cost for either extension of runways or for developing airports, exempt Airports Authority of India (AAI) from municipal taxes and ensure power supply and proper roads to the airports if they are keen to improve air connectivity to tier-III cities.

AAI has promised that if these sops are made available, it will be able to waive route navigation charges and landing fee for airlines.

This move is likely to see the carriers’ operating costs go down by at least 10 per cent, senior Government officials said on Wednesday.

This is one of the ways being suggested for promoting regional air connectivity. The implementation of the proposal could see a number of airports including those in Mysore, Puducherry and Sholapur attracting more flights.

State Governments will also be encouraged to change their rules for allowing officers to fly. This move will create the requisite number of passengers for airlines’ operations within the State to become profitable.

AAI, which owns or is a partner in managing close to 90 airports around the country, will, however, not waive the route navigation and parking charges in the 15 airports including the six metro airports where the rates are decided by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority.

It takes up to 30 months from the time that State Governments accept AAI’s proposal to upgrade airport infrastructure and for airlines to work out their economics of operations, officials said.

ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on May 22, 2013)
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