OPERATIONS AT Solapur, Kolhapur and Jalgaon airports are likely to commence by September, a senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said on Thursday. The airports will operate under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme.
The three airports will make travel to smaller cities easier and affordable. “There are certain issues which are being addressed in order to commence the operations at the airport at the earliest. Issues that include rescue, security and fire fighting are the major ones. The ministry is trying to find solutions to the same,” the official said.
He further added that the task at hand is also to identify the right kind of security personnel to guard these airports.
“The state police have their own limitations. Security personnel that are trained in guarding the perimeter of the premises and in anti-hijacking techniques will guard the airports. Permission for employing dedicated manpower is awaited,” he said.
The state has tied up with aircraft carriers for airports at Nanded, Solapur, Kolhapur and Jalgaon, and has already started operation of one route at Nanded airport.
The airline Air Deccan will cater to the airports of Jalgaon, Solapur and Kolhapur airports as it won the bid the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation floated to operate services from these airports.
“We are planning operations between Mumbai-Kolhapur and Mumbai-Jalgaon by September. The Nashik airport will also be connected to Mumbai by the same period. All the three airports will see at least one flight service connectivity to Mumbai on a daily basis. There are a few issues with starting the operations at Solapur so those we cannot surely affirm,” Valsa Nair, the principal secretary, civil aviation, Maharashtra government said.
The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) that manages the Mumbai Airport has slated eight slots for flights to be run under the RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme).
“We are helping the airports get the required slots at the Mumbai airport, which will allow them to get passengers. As the flight services increase, the MIAL may have to add more slots under the scheme,” she added.
The Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation owns and operates the Solapur airport, whereas Jalgaon and Kolhapur airports are managed by
the Airports Authority of India (AAI).