New Delhi, Oct. 6
THE Karnataka Government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop the airport in Mysore into a modern facility capable of handling large aircraft and providing all amenities to the passengers and airlines.
As per the MoU, the State Government will provide 175 acres, water and electricity required for airport operations free of cost during the first phase. Besides, for five years the airport property shall be exempt from all local taxes including property and municipal taxes.
The entire capital cost of development, modification, strengthening and upgrading the airport will be met by AAI. The airport will be planned, developed and operated by AAI for allowing airlines to initially operate the 50-60 seater ATR aircraft. However, at a later stage the airport will also be able to handle the larger Boeing 737 and Airbus A-320.
AAI plans to develop a new runway, build a new terminal building that can accommodate at least 100 passengers, control tower, ground lighting and navigational lights at an estimated cost of Rs 45 crore during 2005-06 financial year.
Speaking to presspersons at the signing ceremony, the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, said that apart from the Mysore airport, the Centre was also looking at other airports in the State. "Mangalore airport is among the 30 airports around the country that will be developed into world class airports soon. Besides, the airports in Hassan and Gulbarga are also on our radar. These will not be left out in the future scheme of things," Mr Patel said.
The Minister termed the signing of the MoU as a "milestone" as it would provide a new direction for the future of civil aviation in the country.
At the same function, the Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr Dharam Singh, called on the Centre to clear the Bangalore Metro Rail project, a proposal that is before the Union Cabinet.
At present, Mysore has a small airport built on the outskirts of the city on about 242 acres. However, the airport has not been operational for quite some time now.