You may well be catching domestic flights from the Air Force Base in Hindon, Ghaziabad instead of Delhi airport as soon as the coming winter, according to reports. The central government has been considering this with an aim to overcome slot constraints at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, civil aviation secretary R N Choubey said on Wednesday. It has been learnt that the government is having talks with airport operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on reworking a rule which disallows two airports within a radius of 150km, according to PTI report. The Indian Air Force has agreed to allow its Hindon base to be used for flights operating to tier-2 and tier-3 cities under the government’s regional connectivity scheme.
The civilian operations from the IAF air base, in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of Delhi, are likely to start during the winter schedule, which comes into effect on the last Sunday of October. Notably, IAF bases like Gorakhpur, Allahabad and Bikaner and Naval bases like Goa’s Dabolim and Vishakhapatnam have witnessed similar operations. To carry out flight operations, a defence airfield needs to have a civil enclave or passenger terminal, Times of India reported.
The central government’s regional connectivity scheme also known as UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) aims at making flying affordable for the masses by capping airfares on selected short routes — such as from Delhi to Shimla — at Rs 2500 per hour of flight. Airlines that are awarded routes under the scheme are offered government subsidy and in return need to set aside 50 per cent of the seating capacity at discounted fares.