Emphasising the need for new airports in all the metro cities, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday said the government is scouting for a location in Kolkata for a second aerodrome in the capital city of West Bengal.
Addressing an industry body event in Mumbai on Wednesday, Scindia also urged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to come forward and participate in the "huge" opportunities in the civil aviation space in the country.
"Our metro airports are pretty much bursting at seams, and with close to 7.5 crore travellers in Delhi, almost 5 crore in Mumbai, 4 crore in Bengaluru and 2.5 crore in Hyderabad, I think, we need to look at new airports in all our metros," Scindia said at the Annual Session and AGM of the Indian Chamber of Commerce here.
The process for building new airports in Delhi and Mumbai is already on but it needs to be done in other cities also, including Kolkata, he said.
Scindia further said, "I have been trying to reach out to the West Bengal Chief Minister as well to look at issues which relate to West Bengal, which is a key element in terms of our strategic activity both to the north-east and south-east areas of India."
Noting that there is a need to increase both the number of airports and also the air connectivity in West Bengal, the minister said, "I am looking forward for a location for a second airport in Kolkata as well."
"So I would very much urge the West Bengal government to come forward and participate with us in this huge opportunity in India," Scindia said.
The minister also said that the Civil Aviation Ministry is looking at increasing international flights to the countries it has formed Air Bubble arrangements with.
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"I am looking progressively at every country and making sure that we increase the number of flights under the Air Bubble arrangements. Currently I am looking at opening up a number of flights under the Air Bubble arrangements wherever the load factor has exceeded 75-80 per cent on our current flights," the minister said.
He, however, said that such a decision cannot be taken by his ministry alone and has to be a combined decision of Civil, Home and Health Ministries.
"Because at the end of the day, God forbid, if something happens wrong with regards to a third wave, then the Ministries of Home and Health also have to handle it and play their part," he added.
Scindia also said that the pandemic was not over and done with as we all are aware what is happening in Europe, Russia and other parts that are experiencing 4th and 5th wave.
"Therefore, let's not throw caution to the winds, we need to be vigilant, we need to be cautious but at the same time, we need to grasp opportunities, and therefore, I am looking at increasing flights under every Air Bubble arrangement," he said.
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