Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju stressed on the need to make Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) operational at the earliest. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai at the inauguration of an AAI building, he said that the infrastructure constraints and congestion of the only functional runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) could limit its capacity to add flights under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), an Indian Express report said.
“A lot of airlines have shown interest in operating services under RCS — the flagship scheme of the government to connect under-served airports. Along with 70 airports at present, 33 more airports will be commercially connected under the scheme. Among the new airports to be operational, I am waiting for the quick inauguration of Shirdi airport, which will soon commence operations,” Raju was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
As per the report, although, the ministry wanted 20 slots for the operation of flights under the RCS, the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) has agreed to provide only eight. Among these, while two slots will be provided to TrueJet airline to connect Mumbai and Nanded, rest will be used by SpiceJet to connect Mumbai with Kandla and Porbandar.
“We agree that the Mumbai airport is running at full capacity reducing the scope of adding flights under RCS due to the infrastructure constraints. Such concerns could have a negative impact on the desired number of flights under the scheme. Such concerns could be met by having another airport operational soon,” he was quoted as saying by the paper.
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The minister further said that the AAI and state government agencies are working to complete NMIA at the earliest. Even as there are a few hiccups, these will be sorted out, he added further.