Aviation

Top 4 metros need a second airport: AAI chief

DELHI: Greater clarity on whether a second greenfield airport in Chennai should be built in the public-private partnership mode or by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) should become clearer by December this year or January next year, said Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI, on Thursday.

“Cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata require more than one airport. Our efforts are now on in Chennai and Kolkata. The Secretary Civil Aviation and other senior officials have gone down twice to Chennai to interact with the Chief Minister. They have promised that they will find alternatives as soon as possible….by December or January. After that we will see whether we need a greenfield airport in PPP mode or it can be developed by the Airports Authority of India,” Mohapatra said at a media interaction, reports The Hindu Business Line.

He added that a second airport is required in Chennai because about two years back the airport was handling 28 aircraft movements an hour.

However, after some changes made by the AAI it hopes to increase the aircraft movements to 40 per hour.

“By 2030 or 2035 we will be managing with the existing Chennai airport. But a city like Chennai requires a second airport thereafter,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state-owned airport operator hopes to start a pilot project using mobile Air Traffic Control (ATC) towers sometime early next year.

A mobile control tower is one which is able to handle flights at different airports in the region from one city rather than having a single ATC to handle aircraft movements at one single airport as is the case in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and a host of other cities.

“Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh is where there are many small airports which are 200-250 km away from each other. Besides there is also interest among operators who want to start flights under the regional connectivity scheme of the government,” the AAI Chairman said explaining the rationale behind mobile ATC towers.

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