If civil aviation minister Praful Patel has a say, he would have ordered open the Mysore airport months ago. But market forces don’t listen to ministers . Nonetheless, Mr Patel is reported to have assured a Karnataka Congress delegation meeting him in New Delhi that Mysore would start operating flights from May 20. Smacks of political kite-flying to me; would however be happy to eat my words, if indeed Mr Patel delivers on his assurance.
My sense of ground reality is that nothing has happened in recent days and weeks to prompt private airlines to change their position. They are looking for subsidies by way of tax cut in aviation fuel and lower airport charges. And the government hasn’t submitted to such demands, and rightly so.
Fact is Mysore hasn’t developed , whatever NYT says or the tourism dept. and CII might claim; hasn’t developed enough to generate a critical mass of daily air passenger traffic. Confederation of Indian Industry (Mysore chapter) has reportedly collected figures on potential business and tourist air traffic that warrant, at best, daily flights between Mysore and Bangalore. A CII spokesman is quoted in a local evening daily as saying they were looking for a Mysore air connect with Bangalore. Why would any airline want to set up shop (office, ground staff) in Mysore merely to run an air shuttle to Bangalore ?
What CII and other stakeholders could do, instead is : 1) Talk to Capt. G R Gopinath about putting Mysore on Deccan360 freight network map ; about making Mysore a service centre and surface hub. Deccan 360 has over 80 service centres and eight surface hubs to service D-360 operations; it has deployed eight freighter aircraft, covering 15 airports, with a fleet of over 300 trucks and 850 vehicles nationwide.
2) CII could lobby for a fruits & vegetable warehouse in Mysore, to serve Nilgiris, and neibouring areas in Kerala.
3) A proactive campaign to speed up Bangalore-Mysore rail track doubling and completion of NICE expressway, to mop up cargo traffic from intermediate towns and market centres between Mysore and Bangalore.
Look up related post : Airport in search of flights.