KOZHIKODE: Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today suggested that both the Centre and State government should work together for speedy development of the Calicut International airport at Karipur, near here.
Addressing an interaction session with the members of the Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry and later with mediapersons here, he said, "aviation is government of India subject; land is the state subject. So, both the Centre and State should work together for development of the airport."
To a suggestion that a time frame should be fixed for acquisition of land, Raju said "rehabilitation of people who gave up their land is important. Ours is a federal structure and we cannot force any state government."
"Many state governments have put forth the idea of airport developments in their state. Whichever government handed over the land first, they will be given priority."
To a question on skill development and starting a Commercial Pilots Centre in Malabar region as thousands of graduates come out of colleges every year, he said, "there is a mismatch in skill development sector.In some aviation sector the manpower is more while in some sector it is deficient. Skilling our own people is the priority of the government."
On whether commencement of a new airport at Kannur will affect prospects of Calicut airport, Raju said "we will not pull down one for the sake of the other. Kannur is coming. But if you give the land, you will be the forerunner."
On problems faced during Haj pilgrimage, he said "last year there was a little bit of problem, this year there is no problem and in the next year we have to learn from the problems faced."
About airfares not being reduced despite lower ATF cost, Raju said "the states have to reduce taxes. In those states which have brought down the tax, airlines activities have gone up."
Earlier, the Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry submitted a memorandum to the minister which requested to look into various problems faced by the people of Malabar region.
They include cargo facilities from Calicut to promote export to Gulf countries, new flights to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Doha in the next season, extension of Calicut airport runway to facilitate landing of Airbus and Boeing flights, domestic flights from Calicut to metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru and visa on arrival facility at Calicut airport.