Union government says ‘No’ to Hosur airport: Against public interest, says DMK MP Wilson

If Mysuru and Hassan can have airports that are close to Bengaluru airport, why not Hosur, asked DMK MP Wilson.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Feb 09, 2023 | 9:18 AMUpdatedFeb 09, 2023 | 9:18 AM

Hosur airport Kempegowda international airport.

The Civil Aviation Ministry has not awarded airport status for Hosur in Tamil Nadu and it has been deleted from the UDAN document for future rounds of bidding.

The reason: Hosur, close to the Karnataka border, falls within 150 km of Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru.

In reply to a question about the establishment of Hosur airport, raised by DMK Rajya Sabha Member P Wilson, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Gen VK Singh said that in the first round of bidding under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), a bid was received for the Chennai- Hosur-Chennai route under UDAN — or Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik.

Agreement with BIAL

The minister said Hosur airport falls within 150 km of Kempegowda International Airport for which a Concession Agreement has been signed between the government of India and Bangalore International Airport Limited.

The Concession Agreement does not permit the development/improvement/upgradation of a new or existing airport (except for Mysuru and Hassan airports) within an aerial distance of 150 km of Kempegowda International Airport before 2033.

“Therefore, this route from Hosur was not awarded and Hosur airport was deleted from the UDAN document for future rounds of bidding”, the minister stated.

Related: Police puts Parandur on its radar amid protest against airport

Selective exemptions

Surprised over the reply of the minister, Wilson took to Twitter and questioned why nearby airports like Mysore and Hassan were exempted — and why the same yardstick could not apply to Hosur, which is an important industrial hub?

“Should not Hosur have good air connectivity? How can GOI enter such a contract detrimental to the interest of TN which is against the public interest? Such contract clause is void ab initio (sic),” Wilson tweeted.

He also requested the minister to take immediate steps to include Hosur Airport in the UDAN document.

It may be noted that Hosur airport is owned by Pune-based Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Limited that says it is the first private sector company in the country to manufacture general aviation aircraft.

Status of other airports in Tamil Nadu

Minister VK Singh also stated that in Tamil Nadu, five places — Salem, Neyveli, Tanjore, Vellore, and Ramnad — have been awarded for upgradation for the operation of RCS flights under UDAN.

The minister said that licensing for Neyveli and Vellore is in progress. For Tanjore, the land is yet to be handed over by IAF and at Ramnad, the land is yet to be handed over by the government of Tamil Nadu.

He said that RCS flights from Salem have commenced.

Related: New terminal of Chennai Airport to be ready by 2024

On Madurai and Chennai airports

As far as Madurai is concerned, all the designated Indian carriers are free to mount their operations from Madurai to foreign destinations under the ambit of bilateral Air Service Agreements (ASAs) between India and foreign countries.

“Concerning foreign airlines, operations are governed by bilateral ASAs between India and the country of the foreign airline concerned. Any foreign airline can operate from a point in India if it is designated as a point of call in the ASA,”, the minister noted.

Responding to a question regarding the steps being taken to establish a second airport in Chennai at Parandur, the minister said that the application submitted by the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) in August 2022, to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, for a grant of “Site-Clearance” for development of a greenfield airport at Parandur has been circulated for stakeholders’ consultation.

The minister stated that the government of India has established Airports Economic Regulatory Authority to determine the tariffs in respect of aeronautical services provided at major airports in the country.