Mumbai: The newly-constructed Sindhudurg airport in the Konkan region of Maharashtra started commercial operations on Saturday with Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia virtually flagging off an Alliance Air flight to Mumbai from the facility.
The state’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray attended the event virtually from the Sindhudurg airport as the guest of honour, while Union Minister Narayan Rane was among the other dignitaries, an official statement said on Saturday.
Alliance Air, which is the regional arm of Air India, was awarded the Sindhudurg-Mumbai route under the UDAN 3.1 of the central government’s regional connectivity scheme.
With the operationalisation of the greenfield (fresh) airport at Chipi in Sindhudurg district, it has become the 14th aerodrome in the state.
“The inauguration of the Sindhudurg airport and start of the flight to Mumbai mark a new chapter in the glorious history of the Konkan region.
“This development will open new avenues of growth of local trade and tourism. I am sure, with the huge potential of the region, the number of daily flights will increase to 20-25 within the next five years,” Scindia said in the statement.
Developed by IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt Ltd, an SPV of IRB Infrastructure Developers, the greenfield (fresh) facility, also known as the Chipi airport, is spread over 275 hectares. It has a 2,500-metre-long runway, which is capable for the operation of narrow-body aircraft like Airbus A320 and Boeing B-737.
It will have a capacity to handle 200 departing and 200 arriving passengers during peak hours.
“We are very happy to see the airport commissioned and the first commercial passenger flight landing and taking off. We now look forward to seeing more airlines and travellers coming in and using this facility that will facilitate the economic development of the district and the Konkan region above all.
“It will boost our morale in developing more such infrastructure for the state and the country,” Virendra D Mhaiskar, chairman and managing director of IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd, said in a statement.
To date, 381 routes and 61 airports, including five heliports and two water aerodromes, have been operationalised under the UDAN scheme, as per the statement.
With the introduction of the air services on the route, the travel time between Sindhudurg and Mumbai, which is 10 hours now, will be reduced massively, the statement said.
The day is a momentous day for the people of Maharashtra as the inauguration pins the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra on the national air map, it added.
These new flights will further add convenience and comfort to travellers creating a gateway for the people to easily access the Konkan region, it added.
The new services will facilitate the people of Sindhudurg not only in their travel to Mumbai but also opens the horizon of additional connectivity with other metro cities directly connected with Mumbai such as Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad.
Moreover, the Sindhudurg airport is a good option for people travelling to north Goa, according to the statement.
The Sindhudurg airport is the first of its kind in the south Konkan region, which will establish and enhance air connectivity of the region with western Maharashtra; southern states; Mumbai and subsequently to all regions of the country, IRB Infrastructure said in the statement.
It said the airport can handle 2 million passengers per annum, while the peak hour capacity is also extendable to 400 each for arrival and departure.
The facility also offers a cargo handling area of about 10,000 sq metres, which can be further expanded to meet future requirements, it added.
Besides, the Sindhudurg airport has abundant areas available for commercial developments, which brings out opportunities for the economic development of the region and scope for employment for local people, it said.
The airport also has ample dedicated land available to expand various existing facilities in future, depending upon the growing needs with the provision for extending the runway to 3,400 meters and expanding parking bays to 15 from three at present, the company said.
The airport, being the strategically important facility, also has potentials and provisions to handle critical situations like emergency landings as well as be ready and equipped as a standby facility for nearby airports during exigencies, it stated.
Along with the robust safety and security arrangements, the airport has a dedicated isolation bay for handling the emergency, according to the company.
The airport will be a boon for the economic development of the region, as it will facilitate and boost cargo transportation; generate direct as well as indirect employment and other business opportunities for the local people, IRB Infra said.
It has the potentials to become a cargo hub of the western region, it said.