35 non-metro airports to get a facelift by 09

Written by Economy Bureau | Kolkata | Updated: Dec 30 2008, 06:11am hrs
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) would complete modernisation works of 35 non-metro airports and 20 others not classified as non-metro by the end of the next year, Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel said here on Monday. Two other airport modernisation projectsone in Kolkata and the other in Meenambakkam (Chennai)will be completed by May 2010.

The overall cost of development and modernisation works is more than Rs 12,000 crore, Patel said.

Upgradation works at these airports have already been taken up. Some have been completed, some are underway. All will be completed by 2009-end, Patel told FE on the sidelines of the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the development and modernisation project of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.

While modernisation of the Srinagar airport will be completed by next month, work at the Dibrugarh airport is almost finished, Patel said. The Cooch Behar Airport in West Bengal is ready and is awaiting commercial carriers to start operations. We will have at least one carrier agreeing to operate from there by next month, Patel said. Of the 35 non-metro airports, 24 have been taken up for city-side development through public-private-partnership programmes, which include maintenance and operation of terminal buildings, cargo operations, and real estate development.

Making it clear that the Centre has no intention to bail out National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL), the entity formed by the merger of Air India and Indian, he said: We can explore other kinds of concessions like reducing duties. But there will be no direct financial assistance.