Virbhadra Singh said that the length of the Shimla airport runway has been effectively reduced to 3800 feet from original runway length of 4100 feet due to soil erosion and informed that at present the ATR aircraft can not take off with full load.
He said that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has drawn up plan to restore the original length of the runway which will mitigate the load factor problem and requested the union minister to provide adequate budget to the airport authority for restoring the original length of the run way in time bound manner so as normal flights could be plied on the airport before the winter tourism season.
Singh further offered all infrastructural and other assistance from the state government in restoring the original length of the run way.
He urged for the expansion of the airport and increase in the length of the runway by at least 600 ft so as the bigger aircraft could land safely at the Shimla airport.
The Himachal CM further requested the expansion of Kullu airport and said that state govt has conducted feasibility study through IIT Roorkee in consultation with AAI which has concluded that the Kullu airport can be further expanded and the presentation of the study has already been made to the civil aviation ministry.
He requested for allocation of adequate funds for the expansion plan of the Kullu airport.
Singh requested for setting up advance technology and equipments at Shimla, Kangra and Kullu airports so as the larger aircrafts could land during all weather conditions.
He asked for time bound action in this regard keeping in view the safety and convenience of the air passengers.
The CM requested the union minister for developing infrastructure facilities for landing of large bodied fixed wing aircraft in the state and told that state government has submitted a proposal to AAI for conducting feasibility study for new airport at Kandaghat in Solan district of the state.
He requested the union minister to direct the AAI for identifying the new locations for setting up big modern airport to meet the growing demand of air services in the state.
He also requested the union civil aviation minister to start smaller aircraft services of Air India to the state on the pattern of the northeastern states and also provide cheap and reliable air services in the state.
He demanded construction of airport at Kaza on the pattern of Leh airport and said that Kaza airport will be more viable both economically and technically in comparison to Leh airport and said that it will boost the tourism in entire tribal and snow bound areas of the state which have immense tourism potential.
Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said that top officials of the the civial aviation ministry will hold detailed discussions with the Himachal govvernmet officials on the expansion and modernisation of all the airports in the Himachal Pradesh and said that civil aviation ministry has given top priority for ensuring reliable and economic air services in the state.
He said that the ministry is exploring the possibility of plying the private airlines services in the state which has smaller aircrafts and would work for lasting solution of the problem.
--IBNS (Posted on 24-09-2013)