Ashok Gajapati Raju
The British High Commissioner to India James David Bevan calling on the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju in New Delhi on June 24, 2014 (file photo).PIB

Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday clarified that the government would not cancel small air-carriers on metro routes.

This was in response to a report published in a section of media, speculating that the government's decision to cancel small airline operators on metro routes may impact newly launched companies like AirCosta, which have started operations on routes connecting Tier II and Tier III cities in recent years.

In fact, the government wanted to connect Tier II cities, which include important tourist and pilgrimage centres and key towns in the country by encouraging aviation companies and developing 100 small airports.

The Centre has estimated the country's passenger load capacity to touch 30 crore by 2020. To meet such growing demand for air travel in India, small airline companies like AirCosta have launched their services between metros and important Tier II cities and key towns.

As an initiative, AirCosta has announced its Vijayawada-Chennai flight from Friday.

AirAsia, a Tata-AirAsia Group venture, and the upcoming Tata-Singapore Airlines company are likely expand the country's air-travel facilities.

The company is willing to launch its flights from Northeast region and other areas with a potential for tourism, said AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, flanked by Tata Sons Emeritus Chairman Ratan Tata, in Bangalore on Thursday.

On the other hand, the Modi government has taken initiative to sort out passenger-centric issues in the country's airports.

All Indian and foreign airlines and airport operators were asked to ensure essential facilities to the passengers, particularly senior citizens, expectant mothers and passengers with disabilities - such as provision of automated buggies and small hand-baggage trolleys free of charge.

The government has also decided to set up CISF/ Security Help Desks at all key airports of the country. The government-owned Air India carrier was asked to simplify forms for web booking and evolve a procedure for quicker disposal of refund and lost-baggage claims.

Helicopter operators for the ongoing "Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra" have been asked to provide basic facilities like drinking water, tea/ coffee and packed snacks (peanuts/ dry fruits) free of charge to the pilgrims at the helipads.