TIRUCHY/NAGAPATTINAM:As many as 50 airports is expected to come up across the country in the next three years to improve regional connectivity, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju here on Sunday.
“A total of 32 airports in the country, including the one at Salem in Tamil Nadu, remain unused. The Centre is trying to put all these non-performing assets (NPAs) into effective utilisation rather than investing afresh. Each airport will require at least `100 crore for construction,” the minister told the media, while on a two-day tour of the central region.
Raju said he has personally written to all the chief ministers to decrease the value added tax on the aviation turbine fuel in order to provide an encouraging environment for the airlines.
When asked about the Tiruchy airport and its domestic connectivity, the minister said that the airport here levies 29 per cent tax, which affects the profitability of airlines.
Speaking on the Gulf connectivity, Raju said several seats added through the bilateral agreements remain under-utilised. He said such seats should be put to use effectively.
The minister lauded the efforts of the airport authorities and the State government to take up the land acquisition for the development of the airport.
While in Tiruchy, Raju paid respects at the Gandhi Ash Memorial near Tiruchy Government Hospital. He also visited Erukkoor village near Sirkazhi in Nagapattinam to pay homage to late freedom fighter Neelakanta.