BANGALORE: Two months after suspending operations of all fixed wing aircraft at Jakkur Aerodrome in the City, the State government is now considering the possibility of partial resumption of flying activities or shifting flying training at Government Flying Training School (GFTS) to Mysore.
Sources privy to the developments told Express that a crucial meeting of senior officers from the departments concerned and technical experts will be held on Friday to look into the possibility of operating smaller aircraft from the aerodrome or shifting to Mysore Airport.
On June 8, the government had directed GFTS and other operators to suspend fixed wing aircraft operations at Jakkur.
The decision was taken after safety concerns were raised over the elevated (40-plus feet) highway connecting the city with Kempegowda International airport at Devanahalli came up next to the aerodrome and on its flight path.
Currently, 18 aspiring pilots are being trained to get their Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) at the GFTS, which is the only government flying training school in the state.
They are in the middle of the 18-month course, which is scheduled to end next August.
“All efforts will be made to ensure that students do not suffer due to suspension of flying activities at the aerodrome. As of now, they are busy with the ground classes, while the government is looking at all possibilities,” according to a senior official.
Meanwhile, the State government has also written to defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) seeking its permission to use its airport in the city for flying training.
Over a month after the request was made, HAL is yet to take a decision. “Though the final decision has to be taken by the Ministry of Defence, senior HAL officers are said to be not too keen on allowing the airport to be used for flying training,” sources said.
After civilian aircraft operations were shifted from HAL airport to the new airport at Devanahalli in 2008, the former is used for operating defence aircraft and VVIP flights.
Sources said the GFTS has written to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) exploring the possibility of acquiring 1.5 acre land on the eastern side of the aerodrome. “The plan is to extend the runway so that all aircraft can operate without any safety concerns.
There are no structures on the land as it in the no-construction zone. But the authorities are not sure if the BDA has allotted it to anyone,” sources said.
Apart from GFTS, many private operators, including Agni Aero Sports Academy are located at the 216-acres aerodrome, which is also used for landing and take-off of VVIP helicopters.
Sources said extension of the runway is the only option to resume full-fledged flying operations at Jakkur as it is not possible to change the runway alignment as it will effect operations at Air Force Station Yelahanka, a busy air base where IAF transport pilots are trained.
highway cuts runway
After the elevated highway came up, more than half of the runway has been rendered unusable. Of the 854-metre runway, only 413 metres can be used
Smaller aircraft, including microlights that need shorter runway can operate
Currently, 18 aspirants are undergoing training to get their Commercial Pilot License (CPL). The 18-month training costs around `20 lakh
The school has three aircraft -- two Cessna 152 (two-seater) and a Cessna 172 (four-seater)