India unveils policy on new airport projects

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 25 April 2008, 05:18 Hrs
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New Delhi: In an effort to promote new airports in the country, the Indian government Thursday did away with the compulsory approval clause for all new projects that come up beyond a 150-km radius of existing ventures.

However, a meeting of the union cabinet also decided that no greenfield airport will be allowed within an aerial distance of 150-km from an existing civilian airport, Information and Broadcasting Minister P.R. Dasmunsi told reporters.

"In case a greenfield airport is proposed to be set up within 150 km of an existing civilian airport, the impact on the existing airport will be examined," he added.

Dasmunsi said such projects would be decided by the government on a case-to-case basis. The new guidelines, the minster said, would be kept in view by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) while granting a license to operate a greenfield airport.

The policy, however, requires promoters of airports to get approval from all the government agencies that take care of various aspects such as air traffic management, security, customs and immigration.

"These agencies would notify their respective guidelines," an official of the civil aviation ministry said, adding promoters would have to enter into a pact with them regarding the rights and obligations of each party.

The new airports policy was necessitated by the recent strikes by the employees of the existing airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad. They protested the closure of the two airports to make way for the two greenfield projects nearby.

The new policy is also expected to influence a decision on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's request for an early clearance for an airport hub at Jewar, within 150 km of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the capital.

Called the Taj International Airport and Aviation Hub, the $1.25 billion project is proposed by infrastructure major GMR on an area of 1,000 hectares in Gautam Buddh Nagar, some 70 km from Delhi airport.

Officials said the new policy makes room for interested parties, including the state governments, to make recommendations in case some new airport projects within 150 km of existing ones are awaiting approvals.

"Airports for cargo or non-scheduled flights or heliports need not be submitted for approval of the civil aviation ministry and these cases may be considered and decided at the level of the directorate," said the official.

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