Northeast airports lack night landing facilities: Minister

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) Four major airports in the northeastern states of Assam, Mizoram and Meghalaya do not have night landing facilities, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said on Monday.

“Presently, the airports at Shillong (Meghalaya), Lengpui (Mizoram), Jorhat and Tezpur (both in Assam) in the northeastern region are not equipped with night landing facilities,” Sharma stated in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

He said that while Shillong airport belonged to the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Lengpui airport belonged to the Mizoram government and the Tezpur and Jorhat airports were owned by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

“Upgrade of airports, including provision of night landing facilities is a continuous process, which is undertaken by the Airports Authority of India depending on the operational requirements at the concerned airport, demand from airlines, technical feasibility, availability of land free from all encumbrances etc.,” he said.

According to the minister, though the Kumbirgram airport at Silchar in southern Assam is equipped with night landing facilities, it belongs to the IAF and permission for night landing flights for civil operations at this airport rests with the IAF.

Sharma said that domestic air services have been deregulated by the government and airlines were free to operate anywhere in the country, subject to compliance of route dispersal guidelines (RDGs) issued by the government.

“The government has laid down RDGs with a view to achieve better regulation of air transport services taking into account the need for remote and regional areas of the country. However, it is up to the airlines to provide air services to specific places, depending upon the traffic demand and commercial viability,” he stated.

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