NCR to get 2nd airport, IAF to open Hindon to civilian crafts

RSTV Bureau

The National capital region is all set to get another airport that will help decongest the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which is one of the busiest in the world.

The two terminals of Delhi airport — T1 and T3 — together have the capacity to handle 62 million passengers per year. It handled 55.6 million passengers in 2016 and the number is likely to cross 62 million for both the terminals this year. Against the 1050 average flight movements in a day in 2015, the number has increased to 1185 flights per day in 2017.

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The Indian Air Force will allow its Hindon base to be used for flights operating to tier-2 and tier-3 cities under the government’s regional connectivity scheme, civil aviation secretary R N Choubey said on Wednesday.

“In the second round of bidding for RCS, we expect a significant demand for slots for Delhi airport. We recognise that it will be difficult for DIAL to provide all the slots and we have pre-emptively taken up the matter with the IAF, which has gone out of the way to co-operate with us and make their airbase available to us,” Choubey said.

The civilian operations from the IAF air base, in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of Delhi, are likely to start during the winter schedule, which comes into effect on the last Sunday of October this year.

The government, however, needs to bring on board the IGI airport operator, the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), in order to seek a relaxation of the rule which disallows commercial operations of flights from a second airport within 150 kms of an existing one.

“We are reasonably confident that we will be able to resolve contract related issued with DIAL,” Choubey added.

The government’s regional connectivity scheme is also known as UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) aims at making flying affordable for the masses by capping airfares on selected short routes — such as from Delhi to Shimla — at Rs 2500 per hour of flight.

Airlines that are awarded routes under the scheme are offered government subsidy and in return need to set aside 50 per cent of the seating capacity at discounted fares.

There are 23 defence airports across the country which are also used as civil enclaves for the purpose of operating commercial flights.