Hyderabad appears to have upstaged Nagpur with the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport there forging ahead on the path to become an air passenger hub.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL),the company that runs the Hyderabad airport,on Friday launched its Fly via Hyderabad Programme (FYH) here. Addressing mediapersons,company CEO Vikram Jaisinghani said,GMR has chosen Nagpur as one of the destinations from where the FYH programme can be availed. Hyderabad is the south central Indian gateway to 30 domestic and 15 international destinations. It has been rated as the best airport in the country. Choosing Hyderabad to fly to these destinations makes better sense for those who want to avoid traffic congestion at airports like Mumbai and also cut down on travel time. The idea is to develop better connectivity to tier II and III cities.”
The programme provides facility to air passengers to book themselves for several destinations via Hyderabad. This is being done as part of the GMR effort to develop Hyderabad airport as passenger hub.
Coming as it does at Nagpur,the announcement virtually pips the city to the post as the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) is also trying to develop Nagpur as passenger and cargo hub through the ambitious Multimodal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) programme.
Over the past six years,MADC has been able to get only one international flight to Sharjah to operate from Nagpur. In contrast,Hyderabad has 15.
Incidentally,Nagpur has been fast growing in terms of passenger count,with 15 lakh passengers now flying in and out of the city annually.
Asked whether something similar could have been done at Nagpur,MADC vice-chairman UPS Madan,who took over less than a year ago,said,We have to first privatise the airport by choosing a BOT partner. That will happen when the land acquisition issues finally get resolved. We are trying that hard. There is the issue of Air Force land being taken over. Once we do that,we can also think of doing something similar (to what Hyderabad is doing.