With an aim to boost regional air connectivity by developing small airports and airstrips in the state thereby attracting domestic airlines, the Gujarat government today signed an MoU with the Ministry of Civil Aviation under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here in presence of Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
With this, Gujarat has become the third state after Maharashtra and Jharkhand to have signed such agreement with the Centre to boost regional connectivity.
As per the agreement signed between both the parties, 11 airports/airstrips in Gujarat will be developed as per RCS scheme of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, said Raju after meeting Rupani.
These 11 airports/airstrips include Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Jamnagar, Surat, Porbandar, Mehsana, Mandvi, Amreli, Kandla, Keshod and Deesa.
“Both the state government and the ministry will now work jointly to activate these airports/airstrips in Gujarat. The MoU between us will provide a much needed thrust to the regional air connectivity, which is directly linked with economic development,” said Raju.
“Apart from developing infrastructure at these airports under RCS scheme, we will provide certain subsidies to airline operators, so that they get attracted to start their operation here. We are in contact with three to four such operators,” said Raju.
One of the key component of the subsidy will be in form of cheaper Aviation Turbine Fuel(ATF).
“Cost of ATF is the major issue for operators. In order to persuade airlines, we will charge just two per cent excise on ATF at all the airports covered under the RCS. Similarly, state government would also bring down the cost by reducing VAT charged by them,” said Raju, who was accompanied by the chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI) Guruprasad Mohapatra.
“Airports at Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Porbandar are ready to start their operations while some development is needed for Keshod and Deesa. We are working to persuade airlines to start their flights here,” he said.