Info provided by KSIDC on Sabarimala airport being analysed, says civil aviation ministry

New Delhi, Feb 13: The civil aviation ministry on Monday said various information, including about land availability, provided by the Kerala government’s KSIDC with respect to the proposed Sabarimala airport are being analysed.
In June 2020, the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) had submitted a proposal under Greenfield Airports (GFA) Policy to the ministry for grant of site clearance for development of the Sabarimala airport in the state.
The KSIDC’s proposal was considered in consultation with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) and KSIDC, as per GFA Policy.
“Based on the observations of AAI and DGCA, KSIDC was requested to submit a Techno-Economic Feasibility Study (TEFS) Report. The Final TEFS report was submitted by KSIDC in June 2022 and the same was shared with AAI and DGCA,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
According to the minister, the proposal was later placed before the 32nd Steering Committee on greenfield airports for consideration of grant of site clearance on November 22, 2022.
“Based on the deliberations in the Steering Committee meeting, certain information with respect to (i) availability of land, free from all encumbrances, (ii) vetting of the Impact Assessment data by an independent agency and (iii) Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of the project were sought from the Government of Kerala / KSIDC.
“These have been received from KSIDC in December 2022 and are being analysed,” Singh said in response to a query by Rajya Sabha member John Brittas.
Lakhs of devotees visit the hill shrine Sabarimala every year.
In another written reply, Singh said that in the past, due to grant of multiple points of call to foreign countries, an imbalance has been created wherein foreign carriers have access to multiple points in India while Indian carriers have access to only one or two points.
“Hence, the Government of India is not granting any non-metro airport as a new point of call to any foreign carrier for the purpose of operating passenger services,” the minister said in response to a question on whether Kerala’s Kannur international airport will also be made a point of call for international flights.
Generally, point of call refers to a particular airport from where an airline can operate flights.
Indian designated carriers are free to mount scheduled operations to/from any international airport including Kannur international airport to foreign destinations under the ambit of bilateral air service agreements concluded by India with foreign countries.
“However, start of international flights from any point in India is purely a commercial decision of scheduled airlines on the basis of economic viability of the route and other associated factors,” the minister said, adding that at present, Indian airlines are operating 61 international services per week from the Kannur airport under the winter schedule 2022.
Singh also said that three other airports in Kerala — at Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram — are already available as points of call to foreign carriers. (PTI)