- NET Web Desk
The Meghalaya High Court (HC) has directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to file a comprehensive affidavit in connection with viability of the Umroi Airport expansion for long-haul flights and larger aircrafts.
A division bench comprising of – Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Wanlura Diengdoh passed the order on Monday in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding the expansion of Umroi airport.
“In the interest of the State, particularly as tourism is likely to gain momentum here, it is necessary to indicate the feasibility of expanding the Umroi airport to accommodate larger aircraft than ATRs and the cost benefit analysis in respect thereof. It is made clear that safety cannot be compromised and the international standards pertaining to the length of the runway for bigger aircraft have to be adhered to. Both the AAI and DGCA should file their affidavits dealing with such aspect of the matter,” the High Court said.
According to The Shillong Times report, the HC observed that travel time from Guwahati to Shillong is in excess of three hours and if a person visiting Shillong is able to directly land at Umroi, the travel time would be reduced to about 40 minutes.
“However, the hills may have to be cut further for a safe runway to handle the Boeing and bigger aircrafts. It is for such purpose that both the AAI and the DGCA are required to file affidavits indicating the feasibility of expanding the Umroi airport,” – informed the report.
It was further submitted that the DGCA was involved more with assessing the airworthiness of aircraft, issuing licenses and monitoring the operation of flights in the country rather than being involved in the construction of any airport or the requirements thereof.
“If such is the case, the DGCA’s affidavit should indicate the same and the entire matter may rest on the assessment of the feasibility of expansion of the airport by the AAI. The matter will appear four weeks hence,” the order said.