Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Punjab govt must submit formal proposal if it wants a third int’l airport at Ludhiana: Hardeep Singh Puri

Ludhiana: While the Congress government in Punjab has already declared that an ‘international civil terminal’ is to come up at Ludhiana (Halwara IAF station), Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Monday said that the central ministry has not declared the civil terminal coming up at Halwara as ‘international’ yet.

Asked about the financial and practical viability of a third international airport in Punjab, Puri, while speaking at The Idea Exchange session of The Indian Express, said, “Punjab already has two international airports, at Amritsar and Mohali (Chandigarh). If the Punjab government wants to have a third one, it has to be processed. Recently, the Cabinet approved an international airport for Kushingar (Uttar Pradesh), the same process has to be followed. International flight carriers consider demand and viability before deciding to fly from a particular airport and the same will apply for Ludhiana.”

The minister added that so far, no proposal has been received from the Punjab government requesting for ‘international airport’ approval for Halwara in Ludhiana. “As far as I know, a formal proposal has not been received from the Punjab government yet…. A civil enclave is coming up at Halwara which can be used for Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) flights only. When an airport has to be developed as an international one, a lot many things such as customs, migration etc have to be taken care of,” Puri told The Indian Express over phone in the evening.
As per additional information available with the minister’s office, a ‘civil terminal’ is coming up at Halwara Indian Air Force (IAF) station but it hasn’t been given any approval for international flights yet. “Till domestic flights don’t start operating from the new terminal coming up at Halwara, it can’t be given approval for international flights. The civil enclave is coming up as per Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Punjab government and Airports Authority of India (AAI) but it has no approval for international flights yet. Initially, only regional connectivity flights such as under the UDAN scheme might start from there. Also, the one Ludhiana-Delhi flight (Air India) already operational from Sahnewal domestic airport under UDAN will also be shifted to Halwara once the new terminal comes up,” said the minister’s spokesperson.
25/08/20 Indian Express
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