The Karnataka government is planning to expand air connectivity in the state by developing at least 15 small airports. The state government officials have been holding talks with the Airports Authorities of India (AAI) to expedite the process of developing the airports that are in accordance with the civil aviation ministry's policy to support regional air connectivity.
According to reports, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be set up by the Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC) and AAI for the development of these airports. However, the locations of the new airports have not been ascertained yet.
The move comes days after the new cabinet approved the development of a greenfield airport at Shivamogga, the hometown of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, at a cost of Rs 38 crore.
The state government also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the AAI on Saturday (August 24) for the development, operation and maintenance of Kalaburagi airport.
The MoU was signed between Karnataka Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (KSIIDC), on behalf of the state government, and AAI in the presence of Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar, Kalaburagi MP Umesh Jadhav and others at Vidhana Soudha.
Yediyurappa had submitted a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his availability in September for the inauguration of the project.
The decision to construct new airports has not been welcomed by many, as questions regarding the airports that are still not utilised - Mysuru, Hubbali and Belagavi airports have been raised.
But the move may breathe life into airport projects in Yelahanka, Kushalnagar, Chikkamagaluru, Karwar, Harihar, Ammasandra, Koppal, Ballari, Bidar, Hospet, Hassan, Jakkur, Kolar, Mysore (Mandacally), Raichur, Vidyanagar and Yadgiri, for which the state government had signed MoU in 2017.