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Maharashtra has become the first state to sign an MoU with the ministry of civil aviation and the Airports Authority of India for Regional Connectivity Scheme to develop 10 districts.
Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday held discussions on promoting regional connectivity to attract investments and start air-operations on routes that have remained unexplored for long.
The first phase will include Shirdi, Nanded, Amravati, Gondia, Nashik, Jalgaon, Solapur, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
According to Fadnavis, “The regional connectivity would lead to opening up of new destinations for both development and investments.”
Emphasising that proximity is key to building businesses and growth, he said, “The civil aviation minister has promised concessions to promote air operations in untapped routes as part of the National Aviation Policy.”
The state government has sought viability gap funding from the Centre for comprehensive airport connectivity development projects connecting one district with another through flights on dedicated routes.
This policy has provisions of financial assistance, and provisions to make available infrastructure as per need to connect various regions by air traffic.
The policy aims to raise viability gap funding to bridge the gap between cost of air traffic and operators’ income.
The central government can give concessions on aviation turbine fuel for RCS routes, while state can give concessions on VAT and lands for airport. It would also consider concessions for land required for developing other infrastructure projects connecting airports.
The development package includes strengthening of airport police force, and fire engines.