Coimbatore chamber bats for international air connectivity

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 22, 2018

D Nandakumar (left), President of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Coimbatore), presents a memorandum to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju at the Coimbatore airport - Photo: J MANOHARAN

Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju. (file photo)

The new Civil Aviation Policy is in an advanced stage of finalisation. Once ready, it will be placed in the public domain for comments before it is finalised, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju said.

Talking to presspersons at the Coimbatore Airport, the Minister observed that the place (airport) needs sprucing up, such as increasing the width of the runway. International connectivity

Responding to a query on improving air connectivity from Coimbatore to overseas destinations, he said, “The locals have been asking for it as the airport already has customs and immigration facility. Airline companies are sitting on unused ‘bilaterals’ (bilateral agreement to fly to foreign destinations). If they use these ‘bilaterals’, it will help improve air connectivity”. At present, there is direct connectivity to Sharjah and Singapore from this textile hub, twice or thrice a week.

The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, in a representation to the Minister, pointed out that foreign airlines such as Air Asia, Tigerair and flydubai have indicated readiness to operate flights but do not have bilateral traffic rights. “There are 18 cities in India (including Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu) in bilateral traffic rights, to which airlines from Asian countries can operate. But Coimbatore is not on the list,” D Nandakumar, Chamber President, said while appealing for inclusion (of Coimbatore airport) in the Asian Air Transport Agreement for operation by foreign airlines.

The Chamber also sought to impress upon the Minister the need for issuance of permanent licence to the Coimbatore airport. The airport here has only a conditional licence, which is renewed once every six months as the “safety area” length is only 75 metres against 150 metres.

Nandakumar appealed for full-fledged infrastructure facilities in the airport, increasing safety area to 150 m length.

On expansion plans for the airport, Raju said, “Land acquisition is a State subject. If the State government comes forward to give the required land, the Minsitry will have no issue in expanding the airport.”

Published on September 14, 2015

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