Kalaburagi: The Kalaburagi airport became operational on Friday, November 22 afternoon with the landing of a Star Air flight from Bengaluru. The hope is that air connectivity in this region will help develop the area by attracting investments and industries.
The yet-to-be-named airport was inaugurated by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol, Heavy, and Medium Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chauhan.
"Yediyurappa landed from Bengaluru in a chartered aircraft to flag off the airport from where private budget carrier Star Air commenced operations to Bengaluru three days a week," an official said.
According to a report by TOI, officials say that the runway spans 3.25 km, making it the ninth longest runway strip among the airports owned by Airports Authority of India. It is also the second longest runway in Karnataka, the longest being the one at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, according to DH.
"The Chief Minister expressed happiness to inaugurate the new airport for which he laid the foundation stone over a decade ago on June 14, 2008, and hoped the air connectivity will immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the region in the state," the official told IANS quoting Yediyurappa in Kannada.
Built at a cost of Rs 172 crores, the airport is spread across 742 acres of land and will act as a gateway for investors and industrialists to look for opportunities in the Kalyana Karnataka region (Bidar, Ballari, Kalaburagi, Koppal, Raichur and Yadgir).
The airport will soon be connected to Bellary, Bidar, Belgaum, Hubli and Mangaluru in the state, and to Hyderabad and Mumbai, subsequently.
"As night landing facilities are yet to be installed, flight services will be during the day time from dawn to dusk," the official added.
According to a report by Livemint, the government is looking to leverage air connectivity in the region to get investors to look to places other than Bengaluru. The report adds that there are plans for an airport in Bidar as well.
According to TOI, officials said that there are chances of expanding the runway in future, as well as parallel runway operations.
Speaking about the new airport, Kalaburagi regional commissioner Subodh Yadav said that it has been designed to offer passengers a "modern-day feel" to ensure that they are comfortable. "It resembles the Mangaluru airport in look as well as feel," he said.
He added that at present only one service is present, two routes namely Kalaburagi-Tirupati and Kalaburagi-Hindon were announced as part of the second phase of the UDAN regional connectivity scheme. "Airlines can look at starting services on these two routes now that the airport is operational,” he said.
(With inputs from IANS)
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