KOLKATA -- The government wants to develop strategies to operationalised unused airports in the country, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju today said.
"There are around 31-32 airports in India which are not active today. There is one in Coochbehar (in West Bengal) also. We want to develop strategies to operationalise them," Raju said after a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
He said the problem in some such airports is that the length of runways do not permit jets and this is where smaller aircrafts need to come into play.
The Chief minister said the state has been assured by the Civil Aviation Minister that the maintenance work of new terminal of Kolkata airport will be completed within a period of 220 days.
There has been complaints of water leakage from the airport, she said adding that the Centre has been requested to complete the work related to Coochbehar airport faster.
Issues related to airports in Balurghat and Malda, both in West Bengal, were also discussed in the meeting.
Banerjee said the state government want Andal to be second category airport of the state and expand the Bagdogra airport for which land will be needed.
Gajapati said they are working on strategies for bringing inactive airports into action as soon as possible.
The CM said the state want to increase flights from Bagdogra as they have seen a 40 per cent jump in traffic and direct flights between Kolkata and Europe.
Gajapati said he will ask national carrier Air India if it can start direct flights to Europe from Kolkata.