Mysore, July 8: This city of palaces, emerging a logical extension of Bangalore for IT sector expansion, will soon find its lost place in the aviation map of the country following the development of a full fledged Airport.
Work on upgrading the airport at Mandakalli on the outskirts of the city has picked up steam following the urgency of it exhibited by the IT sector as the city had emerged the second in the State in IT exports, which had crossed Rs 760 crore last year.
Airport Authority of India sources told sources that the necessary infrastructure requirements were put in place swiftly to enable the Airport become operational by January 2009.
Initially the airport would cater to ATRs and other aircraft having a capacity of 70 passengers. However the facility would be enhanced in the next phase to enable Boeings and Airbus aircraft land.
The city had been on the aviation map more then five decades ago when a leading national newspaper was dropping its newspapers bundles using a Dakota. Thereafter, it was linked with the rest of the country through Vayudoot services. However, poor patronage had led to discontinuance of the services by national carrier Indian.
Vishal infrastructures company, which had been awarded the tender for civil work would build two runways, apron, taxiway and other allied works under the supervision of AAI officials.
AAI Regional Executive Director for South K Ramalingam along with other officials visited the airport site and reviewed the progress of upgrading work recently.
MR M N Rao, who is supervising the project work said A terminal building with a capacity to accommodate 200 passengers would be ready by the time flights began operating out of mysore in 2009. He said that the two runways measuring 1740 metres and 1350 metres were being built apart from this there would be a taxi way peripheral road, boundary wall which had already been completed.
He said the Airport would have night landing facility. The total cost of the upgradation had been put at Rs 70 crore.
Official sources said that clearances from different civil aviation regulatory agencies, including DGCA, Aviation Safety Cell and Air Traffic Control would be secured before the terminal building was completed so that the airport could resume its operations at the end of the deadline.
The New Delhi based MS Consultants Engineering Services had been entrusted with the task of designing the 'modular' terminal building. The upgraded airport would spread across a total of 416 acres of land, including the existing 242 acres and the 174 acres recently acquired.
Meanwhile the earthwork for two runways was in full swing with deployment of machineries, including excavators, trucks and vibratory rollers, besides scores of skilled and unskilled labourers. ''We will start the work on the terminal building in a months time, Mr Rao said.
The State Government, which was expected to provide electricity and water the airport has begun the spadework for drawing up a 750 kv dedicated power line to the airport. The requirement for an airport was felt by the state administration badly following a steep increase in the flow of tourists, not only into the city but also to neighbouring areas such as Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks and other tourist attractions in the neighbourhood by 30 per cent during the last three years. The potential for air travaller to Mysore was reflected in the large number of tickets booked by the five international air travel association (IATA) recognised travel agencies in the city.
More then 70,000 air tickets were booked by people in Mysore every year highlighting the potential for air traffic in Mysore, said a tour operator. With a host of low cost airliners scouting for destinations to expand their business, experts from the aviation industry were hopfeful many airliners would make a beeline to launch flights from Mysore, which had emerged as an alternative destination to Bangalore for industrial investment apart from being a tourist hub.
Experts from the IT sector felt that Mysore poised to become home to more then 50,000 professionals from the software sector during next two to three years, the Civil Aviation industry would not be lagging behind in introducing flight services from the city.