8888677771 | Karnataka mulls introducing state’s own airline to boost regional connectivity | Bangalore News

The Karnataka Government is studying the possibility of introducing its own airline in order to boost regional connectivity in the state, Minister for Infrastructure and Industries M B Patil stated Friday.

The minister said talks are on with civil aviation experts to assess the pros and cons of such an initiative. Patil said he reached out to businessman Sanjay Ghodawat, owner and founder of Star Air, to discuss the financial modalities of rolling out the state’s own carrier.

“I learnt that one aircraft costs Rs 200 crore. So, if we want to buy three new aircraft, it will cost us Rs 600 crore. The cost will be less if the aircraft is leased. I don’t think Rs 600 crore is a big amount for the government,” Patil said.

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He added, “If regional air connectivity is improved, then a state’s own airline is not impossible. Air connectivity will help provide services from Mysuru to Bengaluru, Bengaluru to Kalaburagi, Bengaluru to Hubballi, Mysuru to Kalaburagi, Bengaluru to Shivamogga and so on.”

Patil also mentioned that he held talks with Air India officials. The idea to roll out the state’s own airline sprouted out of the government’s plan to manage upcoming airports in the state through the Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC). The newly built Shivamogga airport is the first in the state to be managed by the government. Going ahead, the state wants to manage upcoming airports in Vijayapura, Raichur, Ballari, Karwar and Hassan.

The minister said that the plan is in line with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s budget promise of formulating Karnataka’s own Civil Aviation Policy. He pointed out that the government is developing airstrips in Dharmasthala, Kodagu and Chikmagalur, besides a heliport in Hampi.

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