Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Salem, Pondy and Neyveli airports being spruced up for Udan launch

Chennai: Airports Authority of India (AAI) will spruce up an airstrip and two airports in Neyveli, Puducherry and Salem after the Union government awarded three-year rights to airlines to connect these towns to Chennai as part of its regional air connectivity scheme.
Sources said AAI will inspect and install facilities at the Neyveli airstrip and at airports in Salem and Puducherry in the coming days. Though basic facilities are available in Puducherry and Salem, small structures and better approach roads are required at Neyveli where the runway, now used for VIP movements, can handle 70-seater ATR type planes.
A senior official said Hyderabad-based Turbo Megha -- which operates chartered flights and employs Cessna aircraft - and Bhubaneshwar-based Air Odisha may fly these routes. Air Odisha will connect Salem, Neyveli, Puducherry and Chennai although routes and schedules are not yet final.
The official said airlines may start flights to Puducherry and Salem first because airport facilities are available there. Operations may, however, take more than two months to begin. The first regional route in the south may be inaugurated at Vidyanagar airport in Bellary next month and it is expected to speed up preparations in Tamil Nadu.
31/05/17 V Ayyappan/Times of India