No decision on Amravati airport: Patel


New Delhi : The civil aviation ministry has not received any proposal from the Maharashtra government for building a new airport at Amravati, the hometown of President Pratibha Patil’s husband, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said Monday.

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“The state government has not sent any proposal for building a new airport at Amravati. We would consider and take a decision once they send it,” Patel told reporters at the launch of the Aviation Safety Week here.

He was replying to questions on media reports that the central and state government had decided to spend a whopping Rs.4 billion to build a new airport at Amravati.

“We want to develop more infrastructure and airports in the country. A three-member committee including Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia has been formed to discuss a new policy on new greenfield airports. After finalising the policy, it would be presented before the cabinet,” the minister said.

Asked about the Greater Noida airport, Patel said his ministry has taken no decision yet, but the matter is under consideration.

Patel also said, he was in discussion with Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, state governments and top officials of oil companies to reduce the sales tax on aviation turbine fuel (ATF), which averages 23 percent for domestic flights.

ATF attracts 8 percent excise, 18 percent customs and sales tax levies, taking the total taxation to over 35 percent of the base price.

Internationally, ATF prices rose to an average $97.18 in October before touching $110.09 on Nov 1, the highest this year so far.

“I am asking them for a reduction in customs, sales and freight levies to ease ATF prices. Cut in prices is essential to sustain the country’s economic growth and boom in aviation sector,” Patel said.