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[Representational Image]Reuters file

The Tamil Nadu government has planned to open up the Hosur air station, located in Belagondapalli village on Thally Road for commercial airlines in an attempt to cut short the travel time and reduce the cost it takes for Bengaluru residents to travel to the city airport.

The Hosur air station is located around 35 km from Electronics City and consumes only 30 minutes of an individual's travel time as compared to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), which is 80 km from Electronics City and takes a minimum of two hours during non-peak hours to reach. In addition to the travel time, cabs charge passengers more than Rs 1,500 to take them to the airport.

If the Hosur air station begins operating commercial airlines under the Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme launched by the Centre, people living in southeast Bengaluru (Electronics City and surrounding areas) will be able to reach Delhi or Mumbai sooner than reaching the KIA.

The station, a private airfield maintained by Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd (TAAL), is capable of handling Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s. The airport has a runway measuring 2,168 metres and is spread over 248 acres, the Bangalore Mirror quoted an official as saying.

The Tamil Nadu government has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to begin low-cost air services from Hosur airport. The MoU stated that Hyderabad-based airline TruJet is likely to begin operations soon. TruJet connects Bengaluru with Hyderabad, Tirupati, Vijaywada, Goa and Rajahmundry.

Balakrishna Reddy P, MLA from Hosur constituency and Minister of Animal Husbandry and Welfare in Tamil Nadu, told Bangalore Mirror: "Jayalalithaa had written to the Centre asking it to make use of the not-so-popular airports in the state and had also said that Bengaluru stands to gain the most with this move... The Centre approved (the use of Hosur airport) under the UDAN scheme and we also passed the agreement in the Cabinet. Hosur airport is now ready to take off." Jayalalithaa died in December 2016 while serving as the chief minister of the state.

Reddy added that the "first phase of implementation of the Centre's UDAN scheme will promote regional air connectivity. Not just that, more employment opportunities will lead to growth of trade and industry in the area and the overall socio-economic status of people will improve. This will also pave the way for more connections between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu."

The roads around Hosur airport have already been given a facelift. "The airport will connect Salem and Neyveli and improve the transport facilities in the stretch. We still need to think of other modes of transport systems in Hosur which will serve as feeder services," an official from the Tamil Nadu transport department told Bangalore Mirror.

However, there is one obstacle to implementing this plan. When the MoCA and the BIAL signed the agreement for the construction of the KIA in 2004, it was agreed that "no new or existing airport (except for Mysore and Hassan airports) shall be permitted by GoI to be developed as, or improved or upgraded into, a domestic airport within an aerial distance of 150 km of the airport before the 25th anniversary of the airport opening date." KIA began operations in May 2008.

Indian air carriers set to fly more than 800 new planes

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An IndiGo Airlines Airbust A320 aircraft and JetKonnect Boeing 737 aircraft taxi at Mumbai's Chhatrapathi Shivaji International Airport February 3, 2013 [Representational Image].Reuters file

Meanwhile, Indian air carriers like SpiceJet, IndiGo, GoAir and Jet Airways are likely to introduce over 800 new aircraft, including several smaller ones, in the next few years. Indian air carriers currently operate around 500 planes.

SpiceJet signed initial pacts over the last two days for orders of around 60 new aircraft, including 20 latest Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft and 40 Q400 turboprop planes from Bombardier, the Press Trust of India reported. It also has plans to put in place the final orders for about 265 new planes. SpiceJet had, earlier this year, announced that it had signed a pact with Boeing for 205 new planes.

IndiGo Airlines, which has the largest market-share in the domestic aviation market, has also entered a pact with the Airbus for orders of around 430 new aircraft. The order was announced in 2011 and 2014. The airline also plans to buy around 50 smaller planes in an attempt to enter the regional aviation market.

GoAir also firmed up the order for 72 Airbus A320 neo planes in January this year, PTI reported. Meanwhile, Jet Airways had also announced in November 2015 that it signed a pact with Boeing for buying 75 fuel-efficient Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.