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Kerala plans airstrips-heliports to connect tourists spots

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 03: Besides the four international airports, Kerala may soon have a string of airstrips-heliports, which can operate small, single-engine aircraft connecting major tourist destinations. Unveiling the plan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said the state had submitted a feasibility study report in this regard to the Civil Aviation Ministry for approval.

The objective of the initiative is the comprehensive development of the state's aviation sector, he told the state assembly during question hour.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Under the plan, the airstrip-heliports would be set up at Ashramam maidan in Kollam, Munnar, Thekkadi, Kalpetta, Bekal, Guruvayur, Palakkad, Alappuzha beach, Varkala and Kumarakom, he said.

"We are planning to commence airline service connecting the state's major tourists spots by operating tiny single-engine aircraft having 8-10 seats. The plan is to set up the proposed airstrips at Bekal, Wayanad and Idukki in the initial phase," he said.

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    The state government has also requested the Centre to include the proposed airstrips under its Regional Connectivity Scheme-UDAN to operate them as feeder ports of the international airports, the Chief Minister added.

    Steps to set up a greenfield airport to help Sabarimala pilgrims are also progressing, Vijayan said adding a techno-economic feasibility report in this regard is under the government's consideration.

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