Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Rajkot airport flies high on hopes to get more wings

Rajkot: After the beleaguered Jet Airways shut down its operation from the city airport, Rajkot’s air connectivity suffered a major blow with only two flights, operated in a day by the state-run Air India, connecting the city to the rest of the country. Jet airways was flying two daily flights from the city.
The airport authority is struggling hard to convince private operators to fill the space left vacant by Jet Airways. Rajkot airport director A N Sharma has shot a letter to Spice Jet and IndiGo Airlines 15 days ago showing the two operators the potential of getting good traffic and reduction in costs. Talking to TOI, Sharma said, “I have given a picture of industrial sectors in the city, the possible number of travellers and how traffic was when six flights were operating in a day from the city.” The airport authority has given them a list of destination which are in highly demand from the city including Mumbai, Delhi and Surat.

The airport authority, which had plans of constructing a new apron, has started renovating the old one to provide night parking facility to the aircraft. It is also pursuing the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to give it permission to commission the closed 100 metre area of runway so as to allow operators to fly with full capacity and thereby reduce operating costs. According to the authority, the old apron which has the capacity of parking one big and one small aircraft will be ready in 45 days, while the new apron which has the capacity of parking four big aircraft will be ready in 90 days.

Talking to TOI, Sharma said “We will be able to provide parking facility to four aircraft — something that will definitely attract private operators to start flights from Rajkot, because the parking charges in Rajkot is also very less compared to big cities like Mumbai and Delhi.” Sharma explained the huge difference in parking charges by showcasing that of Mumbai airport which collects Rs 50,000 per night per big aircraft, while Rajkot airport collects only Rs 2,000 for the same. Rajkot airport will have capacity of parking five aircraft, of which four will be allowed night halt. Currently there is no facility to park any aircraft for the night.
12/06/19 Nimesh Khakhariya/Times of India
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