Saturday, October 22, 2016

After high-fliers, Juhu airport now for the Aam Aadmi

Juhu airport, so far the poorer cousin of the Santacruz airport, is all set to enter the big league. The prime minister’s grand plan of making travel in ‘hawai jahaj’ affordable to those in ‘hawai chappal’ means that the Juhu airport will now become a hub for travel in and out of Maharashtra.

The airport, which has so far been used for helicopter and private aircraft operations, has been notified by the government under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) called Udey Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), announced yesterday, under which, 30-seater planes can connect to 28 other places in Maharashtra and a total of 394 airports across India.

Under the scheme, airfare on airplanes will range between Rs 1,770 and Rs 4,070 and helicopter rides will cost between Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000. “We will target the first flights under UDAN to take off by January 2017,” Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said at the launch event of UDAN scheme in New Delhi.

So, passengers can fly from Juhu to Aamby Valley in Lonavala and Hadapsar in Pune by shelling out the subsidised cheapest fixed air fare of Rs 1,770. These are the only two airports which fall within the 201-225 km range of Juhu for which fares are capped at Rs 1,770. Two other airports in the 500 km band are Karad in Satara district and Kudal in Sindhudurg district. Flying to Karad will cost Rs 1,830 per passenger, while Kudal will cost Rs 2,760 per passenger. By helicopter, Juhu will be connected to Kalyan at Rs 2,500.

AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra confirmed to Mumbai Mirror that the authority had appointed a consultant to study the feasibility of using the Juhu airport runway for non-scheduled flight operations along with rolling out RCS.
22/10/16 Aditya Anand/The Times Of India