|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Defence air bases to be thrown open for civilian flights
Fakir Chand in Bangalore | August 25, 2003 16:46 IST
Defence air bases would be thrown open for operating civilian flights to facilitate greater air connectivity in the country soon, said Union Defence Minister George Fernandes in Bangalore on Monday.
Fernandes told rediff.com that there would not be any problem in allowing civilian air traffic from the Indian Air Force air bases.
"The defence ministry is ready to consider such a proposal from the civilian sector, including private airlines. A couple of them are already being used in the north-eastern states and at Panjim in Goa by Indian Airlines and Jet Airways," Fernandes said, while launching India's first low-cost feeder air service by Air Deccan.
The IAF has 32 air bases across the country. Many of the air bases, which are located outside metros and other bigger cities, can be used to provide connectivity to the people by feeder airlines such as Air Deccan.
"There is an urgent need to share the infrastructure and other national resources in the country to the maximum benefit of the people. The defence ministry is ready to synergise its facilities with the civilian sector to provide increasing air connectivity between towns and cities in the country for the benefit of the comman man," Fernandes stated.
Former union civil aviation minister and Karnataka BJP unit president Anant Kumar has urged the defence minister to allow civilian flights to land and take-off from Bidar air force base in North Karnataka.
With the Bidar air force base having night-landing facilities, feeder services from Bangalore and Hyderabad will give a fillip to the economic development of the backward region of North Karnataka, Ananth Kumar affirmed.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the government would encourage more feeder services in the country to link growing cities and towns with the metros and enable people to fly at affordable cost."The days of flying being a symbol of only maharajas or the rich are over. Competition and better connectivity by the private airlines will make flying cheaper and accessible to even the lower middle class," Rudy asserted.