Thursday, November 01, 2018

Flights to Thanjavur: AAI, IAF to decide sharing of facilities

Chennai: The Airports Authority of India’s plan to begin commercial services from Thanjavur airport is taking time as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is yet to clear the plan. The defence ministry has given its approval for the project, but the IAF is holding discussions about fixing the time schedule for civilian and air force use and it could be some time before it gives the nod.

SpiceJet, which has bagged the contract to fly from Thanjavur to Chennai under phase 2 of the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme, will be using its Q400 Bombardier plane, an 80-seater aircraft, for services on the route.

A senior AAI official said that Thanjavur airport could be developed fast but added that they would need to build a small terminal, an apron for civil planes and also taxiways. “It will be operational only for a few hours each day and will be used by the air force,” he added.

The work would start after the operational aspects are worked out which might include use of space inside the airfield and the use of airspace as there might be specifications on flying altitude and other aspects, he added.
An advantage is that the AAI may not need to establish a mobile or remote air traffic control tower as the airfield already has a ATC building in which a unit could be set up to control civil flights. More flights and more routes could be explored with the focus on pilgrim and domestic tourist traffic from the airport, said an airline official. Currently, the nearest airport is Trichy, which is an hour’s ride away by road.
01/11/18 Times of India