The Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati will be the centre for project UDAN in the North East region and ASEAN, Airports Authority of India (AAI) Regional Executive Director Dharmendra Kumar Karma said today. Speaking at a session on Civil Aviation at the Global Investors Summit – Advantage Assam, here, Karma said, small airports will be developed in towns such as Jorhat and Tezpur in Assam under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) project. Air Asia, India MD and CEO Amor Abrol stressed on development of necessary infrastructure to cater to the needs of international flight services and wanted airports in this region to remain open and operational between 10 pm and 6 am. Air Asia is keen to connect Guwahati with airports in the neighbouring countries in the near future, Abrol said.
Captain G R Gopinath, Chairman and CEO of Deccan Aviation advocated for building airports in small Indian cities. He said, Deccan Aviation will open 62 domestic airports in the country within the next six months. He said that the common man needs air connectivity between small Indian cities more than increasing number of international flights from airports in Indian metropolis. Gopinath lamented and said that 97 per cent of Indian population never boarded an aircraft. He said that massive changes in policy is required for success of UDAN. B P Sharma, the CMD of Pawan Hans helicopter service in the North East region said that as all cities and towns of the country cannot be covered by airports, Indian aviation system must rely on helicopter services.
Stating Pawan Hans is going to add 52 more towns to its service map and 20 per cent of these towns will be in Assam, he said demand for helicopter service is very high. Spice Jet’s CMO Debojo Maharshi highlighted the necessity to explore the possibilities of introducing sea planes on major Indian waterways such as the Brahmaputra.