GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Limited, has announced that it has signed a deal with the Karnataka government to operate the Bidar airport in the state's northern region.
Once the Bidar commences its operation, the number of functional civilian airports in Karnataka will add up to eight — Bengaluru, Kalaburagi, Mangaluru, Hubballi, Mysuru, Belagavi, Bidar and Bellary.
"We have signed a concession agreement with the Karnataka government to commission, operationalise and maintain the civilian enclave at the Bidar airport in the state''s northern region," the New Delhi-based GMR said in a regulatory filing on the BSE.
Under the central government''s flagship regional connectivity Udan scheme, a daily service between Bengaluru and Bidar will commence soon from the airport.
"A budget carrier like True Jet is likely to operate the service after the airport's formal inauguration on February 7," a company official told IANS on phone.
State Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa told reporters here recently that the Bidar airport would become operational in February first week.
"The operationalisation of the Bidar airport is a testimony to our commitment to support the central government''s regional connectivity scheme in partnership with the state government," GMR Airports executive Director and GHIAL Chief Executive S.G.K. Kishore in a statement.
Located in the north-eastern part of the southern state, Bidar is home to important religious shrines and historic monuments, including Guru Nanak Jhira Sahib, one of the holiest sites of the Sikh religion in the country.
"Air connectivity and feeder service will lead the all-round socio-economic development of the region and give a boost to the local economy with pilgrims and tourists flying to Bidar," said Kishore.
Bidar is also renowned for Bidriware metal handicraft products, which have been recognised with the coveted Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
Bidar is also well connected with Hyderabad, about 150 km away.
The GMR group operates New Delhi and Hyderabad international airports in the country.
The developments in Bidar comes two months after the Karnataka government inaugurated the Kalaburagi airport in the same region in the hope that investments and industries would follow and help develop one of the most backward regions of the country.
The Karnataka government is working towards diversifying the state's industrial based beyod Benagaluru to help address the challenge of regional economic inequities.
The state-run Airport Authority of India (AAI) commenced operations in November at Kalaburagi airport, which is 120 km away. The government is working to at least four more airports to become operational in Karnataka in the next two years — Vijayapura, Shivamogga, Karwar and Chikkamagaluru
State-run Air India''s subsidiary Alliance Air launched a direct service from Kalaburagi to Bengaluru and Mysuru on December 27 under Udan.
(With Inputs from IANS)
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