Air Force: Can open up Hindon for flights under regional scheme

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

The Air Force is open to allowing airlines under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) to operate their flights from its air base in Hindon on the outskirts of Delhi, RN Choubey, Secretary Civil Aviation, said here at an aviation conference organised by Assocham.

This will allow RCS flights, which normally use of small aircraft, with 50-100 seat capacity, from the Air Force Base in Hindon near Delhi.

“We have to take GMR on board. We are reasonably confident that we will be in a position to sort out the contract related issues as far as Hindon is concerned. We see some small constraints for the small aircraft which are flying under the RCS scheme,” he explained, pointing out that small aircraft take a much longer time to clear the air field than the big ones.

The Ministry will have to talk with the GMR group which manages the airport in Delhi as the current rules do not allow civil operations from an airport which is 150 km from an existing airport. The Hindon air base is less than 150 km from Delhi airport.

The need for approaching the Air Force for use of Hindon air base came up as the Government recognised that there was significant demand for slots to operate RCS flights from Delhi and the airport might not be in a position to provide that many slots. A slot is required for an aircraft to land and take off at an airport.

The Government will also be willing to talk with other Air Force airports provided the airlines tell them they are ready to fly to more such defence air bases. "For example, Purnea. If an operator says it is keen to fly there we will take up the matter with the Air Force,” he added.

The Secretary also indicated that Mumbai airport has not been included in the second round of bidding for RCS which started earlier this month as no slots are available to operate any new flights from Mumbai airport.

Published on August 30, 2017

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