No commercial activity at Bangalore, Hyderabad airports: Minister


New Delhi : Rejecting striking employees’ demand, the government Wednesday maintained that all commercial operations from the existing Bangalore and Hyderabad airports will be closed after two new airports there start functioning.

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“The government is obliged to close down all commercial civil aviation operations at the existing airports at Bangalore and Hyderabad once the new airports are made operational there,” Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said in a statement.

He referred to an agreement signed between the government and the developers of the two airports earlier, which requires all commercial activities at the two existing airports to end when the greenfield projects become operational.

However, the two existing airports would continue to operate for general aviation, defence purposes and during national emergencies, Patel said.

The statement pointed out that activities concerning security, immigration, customs and air traffic control would continue to be under the government control at the new airports.

Under pressure from the Left parties and the agitating Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees, the government has given up its earlier stand, in which it announced closure of all activities at the existing airports.

The minister also assured all concerned that the interests of the AAI employees at these airports would be fully protected.

The AAI employees have been demanding that “commercial activities” at the two cities’ existing airports should not be shut down after the greenfield airports start functioning in the next few weeks.

The employees went on strike from midnight Tuesday after talks with the civil aviation ministry failed. The AAI employees’ union had given a call for the strike Feb 26 this year.