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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Mysuru Airport to be retained as civilian airport, won’t be handed over to IAF: Civil Aviation ministry

Mysuru airport witnessed a 198% growth in passenger traffic in 2019, Airports Authority of India data indicates.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Mysuru | Updated: February 12, 2020 7:16:10 pm
Pratap-Simha-Sa-Ra-Mahesh-GT-Devegowda-Mysore-Bangalore-flight-flag-off-Mysuru-Bengaluru-Air-Alliance-UDAAN-UDAN Karnataka ministers GT Devegowda, Sa Ra Mahesh and Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha flags off the first Mysuru-Bangalore flight from Mysuru airport in June 2019. (File)

Mysuru’s Mandakalli Airport will continue to be operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) as a civilian airport, the Ministry of Civil Aviation clarified recently. The latest clarification from the Civil Aviation Ministry puts an end to pending decisions from the AAI along these lines.

Mysuru-Kodagu Lok Sabha MP Pratap Simha had requested Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to clarify on speculations regarding a part of the airport being handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to operate their Helicopter Base.

Responding to the same, Puri ruled out the proposal after a formal communication with the AAI Director, officials told Indianexpress.com.

“The minister has also directed the AAI Director to not forward such proposals giving priority to the interest of the growth of any city attached to airports operated by the authority,” an official said.

Also read| Karnataka gets its 8th airport, operations begin in Bidar 

Confirming the same, MP Simha wrote on Twitter, “I sincerely thank @HardeepSPuri Sir for giving heed to my request n deciding, not to hand over Mysuru Airport to Indian Airforce to make Helicopter Air Base. It vl remain as Civilian Airport. Thank u all.”

In the request made to the minister, Simha claimed passenger movement in the airport had increased seven-fold since the implementation of the UDAN scheme, and by non-UDAN flights as well.

Also read| UDAN improves air connectivity in Karnataka, new daily flight on Mysuru-Belagavi 

“Since Mysore is known to be the cultural heritage capital of Karnataka, passengers are attracted for tourism experience of the city. Additionally, Mysore is also now attracting industries with the establishment of IT majors and various automotive ventures,” he mentioned in the letter.

Meanwhile, Mysuru airport witnessed a 198 per cent growth in passenger traffic in 2019, according to AAI figures.

The Airport handled 99,991 passengers between 2019 April and December against 33,547 passengers during the same period in 2018, AAI data indicates.

Incidentally, a surge of 416 per cent was recorded in passenger figures in December 2019 from the corresponding period a year ago.

The proposal to shift the IAF Helicopter Base from Yelahanka in Bengaluru to Mysuru was put forth by the Kumaraswamy-led government in 2018.

Also read| What is UDAN?

IAF had then stated it would be developed on the lines of airports in Srinagar, Pune, and Chandigarh with facilities made available for both civilian and military use.

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