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40 more cities to be on air map

September 17, 2007 12:57 IST
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is planning to start flights connecting about 120 cities in the country from the current 81 cities, said Praful Patel, Union Minister for Civil Aviation.

Inaugurating the new arrival terminal 1B at the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) at Mumbai, he said the new routes would be announced in near future.

The modernisation and expansion of airports at Banagalore and Hyderabad will be complete by March next year. Once the proposed airports at Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad come upĀ  by 2011-12, the Centre would open up new routes to these destinations connecting Lathur, Nanded, Amaravati and Akola in Maharashtra, Patel said.

"The Indian civil aviation sector has changed a lot in the last few years. The sector will grow to $120 billion within ten years, creating 3 million jobs," he said.

Commenting on the proposed expansion plans of the airport, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh said the rehabilitation of people would be done "with a humanitarian face" while acquiring land for the expansion.

GV Krishna Reddy, chairman, Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL), said the new terminal was constructed with an expenditure of over Rs 130 crore (Rs 1.3 billion). MIAL has spent over Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) since May 2006 for the upgrade of the airport. It plans to install 11 aerobridges at the CSIA by next year and tenders have been floated, he said.

MIAL is the first public-private partnership in India to maintain airports, a joint venture between the GVK-SA consortium and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to modernise and upgrade the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport(CSIA).

Once the modernisation is complete, CSIA will be the 40th busiest and largest airport in the world, handling 40 million passengers, from the current 22.2 million passengers.

With the opening of the arrival terminal, 65 per cent of domestic arrivals will shift from terminal 1A to 1B. The airlines operating from terminal 1B are Air Deccan, Indigo, Jet Airways, Jet Lite, Spicejet and Go Air.

The other facilities at the terminal include five baggage belts, premium taxi services, exclusive taxi service for women, international transit facility and an arrival plaza spread over 10,400 square metre.

BS Reporter in Mumbai
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