Belagavi airport loses out as SpiceJet seeks Udan benefits in Hubballi


Published: 03/06/2018



 The Sambra Airport here, which was upgraded at a cost of Rs 141.44 crore last year to handle bigger aircrafts like Airbus-320 and got a bigger terminal with a capacity to handle 300 passengers during peak hours, will remain a white elephant from July 1. SpiceJet is going to discontinue the only operational flight from Belagavi airport to Bengaluru from July 1. The airline has already shifted three flights operating from Belagavi to the Hubballi airport to get the benefits of the Udaan scheme of the central government. It will also reduce operations of the only flight running from here to half by this month end. SpiceJet started operating flights to operating Bengaluru and Mumbai from Belagavi and added Chennai to the list in September 2017. It also had a direct flight to Hyderabad in the month of March this year. All the flights were receiving patronage. SpiceJet’s decision to shift these flights from Belagavi to Hubballi has shocked Belagavi residents. With this, 75-year-old airport will turn into a white elephant. Local politicians including MP Suresh Angadi, Rajya Sabha member Prabhakar Kore and members of industrial fraternity are engaged in correspondence with authorities of central government seeking inclusion of Belagavi airport under Udaan scheme, which is meant for small airports. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a recent election rally in Belagavi, had assured to include the Belagavi airport under the Udaan scheme. During the inauguration of upgraded airport, then civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had also assured of considering the airport for the scheme. The residents of Belgavi are confused over how the Hubballi airport, which was upgraded after the Sambra airport, got selected under the Udaan scheme and are questions the local leaders about it. Belagavi (South) MLA Abhay Patil has decided to take a delegation to meet the prime minister and the civil aviation minister in New Delhi with a memorandum containing the signature of 52 MLAs seeking the inclusion of the Belagavi airport under Udaan scheme. The upgraded Belagavi airport comprises a new terminal building, operational area with later equipment, a runway which has been extended by 470 metres, a new isolation bay, new apron and a new ATC cum fire station cum technical block. The state government provided 370 acres of land to the airport for the upgrade.


Image is for representation only
Source : TOI