Punjab, other states oppose draft civil aviation policy

New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) Some states, including Punjab and Kerala, Tuesday voiced their opposition to the NDA government’s draft civil aviation policy on the grounds that its proposal of creating only six international hubs in metros would work against states’ interests.

“If implemented, the policy will work against the interests of people of various regions as they will have to travel to other international hubs for onward journeys,” Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said.
Pointing to the religious importance and massive flow of pilgrims to Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib, he demanded that Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport at Amritsar be made an international hub with special focus on creating a cargo hub to explore the trade potential with the Middle East.
Speaking at a meeting here of chief ministers and state ministers to discuss the draft policy, Majithia urged Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju to allow airlines to choose different international airports from across the country as their hubs to ensure balanced regional economic development.
Located along the ancient Silk Route, Amritsar was one of the most visited first seven places throughout the world, Majithia said adding Punjab was suffering a lot from discontinuance of the Amritsar-London-Birmingham-Toronto flight.
Kerala also opposed the draft policy, saying the international arrivals and departures from three airports in the state at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode are higher than the Chennai airport.
Earlier, inaugurating the meeting, Gajapathi Raju said despite the steady growth in civil aviation in the last decade, most airlines in the country are incurring losses, an official statement said.
“The aviation industry is seriously affected by high operational costs including cost of aviation turbine fuel, service tax and other charges, shortages of maintenance facilities, high foreign exchange rate and competition from foreign airlines, among others,” he said.