Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will formally inaugurate the new Chipi Airport in Sindhudurg district on October 7 which would catapult the coastal Konkan region on the country’s air-map, officials said here on Saturday.
Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut made the announcement in a social media post after meeting the CM here this afternoon, which will make it the 14th airport in the state.
Over two years ago, the then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the former Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu had inaugurated the new terminal building and other facilities at the Greenfield Airport as flights under the UDAN scheme were expected to be launched from there.
There were a series of delays thereafter, but the Chipi Airport – first in the Konkan – built at a cost of around Rs 520 crore under DBFOT, is expected to finally start flights next month initially to Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, said an official.
With a runway length of 2,500-45 metres, which can be extended by another 1,000 metres, the airport can handle up to 400 passengers or two flights per hour with an estimated annual capacity over a million passengers.
The airport can handle aircraft like A-320 and B-737 and would give a huge fillip to tourism in Konkan, renowned for its magnificent coastline, dazzling beaches, big and small rivers, creeks, abundant greenery and natural beauty, ancient temples, sea and land forts, a rich cultural heritage, unique lifestyle and major historical landmarks.
Built by the IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt Ltd, a SPV, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation was the nodal agency to facilitate and supervise the entire project.
The Chipi Airport will also create more opportunities for the regional economy as the state government has announced plans to develop the coastal Konkan as a major tourist and business-cum-leisure travel hub.
Initially operating intra-state flights, later the Chipi Airport would offer inter-state connectivity to Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, etc.