Jharsuguda shortlisted for no-frills airport
NEW DELHI: No-frills airports are all set to become a reality in India. Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Tuesday said that five cities — Teju (Andhra Pradesh); Hubli and Belgaum (Karnataka); Kishangarh (Rajasthan near Ajmer) and Jharsuguda (Odisha) — have been identified as the places that will first get no-frills airports.
“It will not be correct to call them low-cost airports. They will have no frills. Airports Authority of India (AAI) has developed this model airport, without compromising safety and security. This will result in low cost of operation and make it viable for the airlines to run their services. AAI is committed to commencing work in this financial year at the five locations,” the minister said at his 100-day press conference.
These airports will, to begin with, have airstrips long enough to handle turboprops like ATR and Q-400. “They will have no carousels or conveyor belts. Only the security hold areas at these airports will be air-conditioned. They will have no aerobridges,” said a senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official.
The terminal buildings will be single storey with simple structures unlike the fancy glass-and-steel structures in the metros. Also, these airports will have mobile air traffic control units instead of big ATC towers. “Each of these airports would cost Rs 55 crore to Rs 85 crore. They should be ready in two-to-three years,” said the official. The five cities were selected from a list of 50 places across the country. Finalization of low-cost airports was among the list of achievements which included the aviation ministry disposing off over 9,100 old files and removing over 15 truckloads of useless items from the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan headquarters in Delhi.
“As many as 12,977 files have been reviewed, 3,839 files have been recorded and 9,146 files have been weeded out,” aviation ministry joint secretary G Asok Kumar told reporters.
Raju on Tuesday launched DGCA’s know-your-rights portal. DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar said the portal will provide information on the rights of passengers in cases of delays, cancellation and denied boarding, lost, delayed, misplaced and damaged baggage; and on matters related to booking, airfare components and refund of air tickets. The grievance redressal mechanism, names of nodal officers and their contact numbers would be shared with the public on the portal.
Kumar said the government has come out with new measures for physically challenged flyers. Two window seats will remain blocked for them till 24 hours before departure. “Delivery of check-in baggage will be given to them either at the ladder point or exit of escalator belt. Airlines will give special training for their staff for this purpose.”