Mumbai, March 5 : Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday announced that an aircraft components manufacturing hub would be set up in Maharashtra's coastal Konkan region and would boost employment opportunities for the local youth.
Besides, he said that youth of both sexes will be specially trained for getting suitable jobs in the aviation sector, including the planned aircraft components hub, while inaugurating the Sindhudurg Airport at Chipi - the region's first - with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
With an estimated requirement of around 2,300 new aircraft in the next few years, the aviation sector would emerge as a key employer and help create lakhs of new jobs in this region, which will soon have another airport in adjoining Ratnagiri, Prabhu said.
Regular commercial flights under the UDAN 3.1 scheme, for which bids have been invited, are expected to be launched soon from Sindhudurg's Chipi Airport, while a memorandum of understanding was signed for the Ratnagiri Airport, he added.
"We are fully committed to start air operations from Ratnagiri at the earliest.
Bids under UDAN 3.1 have already been invited for flights on Ratnagiri-Mumbai sector. Both these airports will boost the tourism and agricultural economies of Konkan," he said.
Additionally, the government also plans to launch seaplane flights in the Konkan region to boost air connectivity to all the big and small towns in the coastal strip, said Prabhu, who hails from the Konkan.
The Sindhudurg Airport, the 14th in Maharashtra, is expected to give a huge fillip to tourism and allied economic sectors, with flights initially from Mumbai, Pune and Nashik after successful trials were conducted in September 2018.
"The Konkan region has a long and magnificent coastline blessed with abundant greenery and dazzling beaches, natural beauty with ancient temples, historical forts and other tourist attractions.
With the Sindhudurg Airport, connectivity to northern Karnataka, western Maharashtra and Goa in south would get a boost," said an official.
Built at a total cost of around Rs 520 crore, the new airport would be able to handle 400 passengers per hour and an annual estimated capacity of over a million passengers.
The runway length - 2500 by 45 metres - is suited for operating A-320 and B-737 aircraft.
Earlier the Airport Authority of India and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation signed an understanding to reactivate the Ratnagiri Airport, which is currently used for defence purposes only, to launch commercial flight operations under the UDAN scheme.
While the AAI will provide all support for activation including Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) services, the MIDC will provide the infrastructure for handling aircraft and passengers, constructing a passenger terminal, apron and taxiway for commencing operations under the Regional Connectivity Scheme.
Among other things, the Maharashtra government plans to start a fishing centre and a horticulture cargo hub in Sindhudurg while Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation will acquire submarines for Rs 65 crore to launch adventure tourism here.