Major push for civil aviation in northeast


New Delhi : The civil aviation ministry has drawn up a major plan to boost air traffic in northeastern states by constructing four new airports at a cost of Rs.3.5 billion, a senior official said Wednesday.

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The ministry will also make operational the 12 airports that are not being used currently in the region, even as efforts will be made to step the investment for maintenance of airports at the national level, the official added.

"The government of India has launched a very careful roadmap for the development of airport network in the northeast region," N.K. Srivastava, joint secretary in the civil aviation ministry, told an aviation summit here.

"There are currently 12 operational airports in the northeast and about the same number of airports which were operational before. We are looking at making these 12 airports operational," he said.

"In addition to that, four new greenfield airports will be developed at Sikkim, Kohima, Itanagar and Tamang," he told the seminar organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) here.

Srivastava said the government has decided to enable all operating airports in the country to be equipped with night landing facilities, a feature that is not available at several airports today.

He also said the investment for improving and maintaining the country's airport infrastructure, which currently stands at around Rs.7 billion will be increased to around Rs.12 billion soon.

Indian passenger air traffic is expected to grow at around 20 percent over the next few years after a 45 percent growth in domestic traffic and 15 percent rise in the international segment last year, ministry officials said.