Pithoragarh (U'khand), Oct 3 (PTI) The Pithoragarh district administration has sent a proposal to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S S Sandhu, requesting him to hand over the management of the Naini Saini airport here to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The chief secretary has promised that he will discuss the proposal with the state government, District Magistrate (DM) Ashish Chauhan said on Monday.
"We submitted a proposal in this regard to the chief secretary during his visit here on Sunday. He has given his nod to it," the DM said.
The purpose of Sandhu's visit was to discuss ways in which the airport can be managed better, he added.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) manages the airport, which has seen no flight operations since March 2020 as it has not proved to be commercially viable for aviation companies.
Constructed in 1999, the runway at the Naini Saini airport has a length of 1,600 metres and a width of 60 metres. Medium capacity aircraft can be operated on the runway.
The first civilian trial of the airport was completed on October 8, 2018.
"The airport had its first commercial flight on January 17, 2019. It was followed by a flight to the Hindon airport on October 11, 2019. But flight operations between the Naini Saini airport and the Hindon airport in Ghaziabad were closed from March 20, 2020 after a minor technical error occurred at the airport.
"The main reason for the non-operation of the airport seems to be its commercial non-viability for aviation companies," an official said.
Even if the management of the airport is handed over to the IAF, the civilian flight operations will not be affected, the DM said.
"If the deal gets finalised, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed with the IAF to let civilian flights run, on the lines of the Jodhpur, Ladakh and Hindon airports, which are managed by the IAF," he added. PTI COR ALM RC