AS AVIATION INDUSTRY IS EXPANDING AT A FASTER PACE, AIRPORTS ARE GETTING CONGESTED – GOVERNMENT IS PLANNING TO SHIFT GENERAL AVIATION ACTIVITIES TO SMALLER AIRPORTS
NEW DELHI: People flying business jets to Bengaluru and Hyderabad may soon be landing at the older airports in those cities as the aviation ministry is looking at a proposal to shift business aircraft movements out of congested airports in big cities.
The proposal was discussed in a meeting convened by aviation secretary RN Choubey last month and Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) has been asked to prepare a list of alternative airports, people familiar with the development said.
We have been asked to identify alternate airports for general aviation flights in the country,” BAOA managing director RK Bali said. “Not all cities have alternate airports available but some of them have alternate airports, which we are going to suggest should be made available within 25 to 30 km, immediately and/or in the medium or long term,” he told ET.
For example, according to industry insiders, while alternative airports in Mumbai and Delhi may not be immediately available, in Hyderabad and Bengaluru older airports can be used for business Jet operations.
“Begumpet airport in Hyderabad and HAL airport in Bengaluru can be used for business jet operations and will be beneficial for business jet travellers too, as it will save time (being closer to the city),” one of them said. They said business jet operators would look at making proposed Navi Mumbai airport in Mumbai as their main airport whenever it comes up.
“For Delhi, there is enough capacity available, as a fourth runway is also coming up,” said the person quoted earlier. The move is in line with global trends — big airports like Heathrow in London and JFK airport in New York do not allow business jets to land and park. Confirming the development, a senior aviation ministry official said, “A proposal to shift general aviation to alternate airports was discussed and BAOA will discuss the matter with scheduled airlines to arrive at a feasible solution.
Industry insiders said the government should look at increasing capacity at smaller airports to ensure that there are enough parking bays at these airports.
“There are various problems with smaller airports across the country,” said Kanika Tekriwal, founder of JetSetGo, an online marketplace for private jets and helicopters.
“While airport in Jabalpur does not have bays to
park airplanes, airport in Aurangabad is open only for four hours due to lack
of air traffic controllers to manage them. There are many such examples. The
government should also look at building capacity and infrastructure at smaller
airports to ensure that there is enough space to park,” she said.
Capacity at many key airports in the country has
reached saturation, making any flight additions by carriers difficult. Allowing
airlines to operate flights out of alternate airports will help create some
space at these airports.