Low-cost airports don't need conveyor belts: AAI

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SummaryLow on Infra: ‘luggage can be handed over to passengers in person’

Passengers planning to board a flight or arrive at each of the 50 upcoming ‘low-cost airports’ proposed across the country may have to contend with more intrusive checks, including manual inspection of luggage, if the suggestions offered by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) are accepted by the government.

The suggestions have been sent by the AAI to the civil aviation ministry on the standards to be followed at these proposed low-cost airports, 50 of which are to come up across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

“These proposed low-cost airports are unlikely to see large number of passengers using them. Hence, we do not need to put in a lot of infrastructure at these airports. Our suggestions to the ministry, include doing away with luggage scanning X ray machines and conveyor belts,” said a senior AAI official on condition of anonymity.

The official added that the suggestions are to do away with conveyor belts and handover the luggage to the passengers in person.

“We have suggested the need of a basic building in place and also securing the perimeter of the airport with wires and not with a boundary wall built of bricks, which would have been expensive,” the official further added. These suggestions are now being discussed in the civil aviation ministry, which will come with a formal standard to be followed at these airports.

As part of the plan to increase regional connectivity, the government plans to connect various small airports with smaller 20-, 30-seater planes. Prime Minister

Manmohan Singh had announced the proposal to develop fifty low-cost airports in July had set a fiscal-end deadline to make these airports operational.

The ministry will also discuss the issue of providing regional connectivity in the meeting of the civil aviation ministers of the state called on Tuesday.

The discussions would be on providing financial help to small aircraft operators, who would connect the airports in the respective state.

“We would also discuss issue related to low-cost airports. The states need to provide basic infrastructure like roads, electricity, water among others to ensure that these airports become operational as soon as possible,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.

austerity drive

*To increase regional connectivity, the government plans to connect various small airports with smaller 20-, 30-seater planes

*AAI suggests civil aviation ministry not to use X-ray machines and conveyor belts as there won’t

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