Aviation

Maharashtra first to sign up for regional connectivity

MUMBAI: Maharashtra has┬ábecome the first state to sign up for the civil aviation ministry’s regional connectivity scheme, fast-tracking the development of its smaller airports and providing incentives to smaller airlines.

A tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) to that effect was signed between the ministry of civil aviation, the Maharashtra government and the state-run Airports Authority of India, reports The Economic Times.

Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the government will fast-track the development of airports at Shirdi, Nanded, Akola, Jalgaon, Solapur and Kolhapur to be readied for regional connectivity in the state. These are airports operated by the AAI, which Raju said should be easier to develop than the abandoned airstrips which the government plans to revive and greenfield airports it plans to set up.

An active state-Centre relation is integral to the scheme announced earlier this year. An airline signing up for it will connect small towns in flights of about 1 hour with ticket charges capped at Rs 2,500. As the fares are low and wouldn’t cover costs, there will be viability gap funding, 20% of which will be borne by the governments of states which are part of the scheme. There will also be a levy on scheduled carriers flying on trunk routes such as Delhi-Mumbai.

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