SURAT : Now, the Surtis will be able to fly to the international destinations from Surat airport. Thanks to the central government for notifying Surat as the customs notified airport.
The diamond city will be air connected with the world in the next couple of months with central government giving the customs notified status to the Surat airport through the notification issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs on June 8.
As per the notification (copies available with TOI), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has notified Surat airport as customs airport through its notification under section 7 of the Customs Act, 1962 issued on June 8.
RTI activist, Rajesh Modi who was pursuing the issue for a long time, stated, “We have been hearing from the elected representatives in the city from the last many months about the international airport operations. But, I have obtained copies of the official notification from the central board of indirect taxes and customs about the customs notification for the Surat airport”
Modi added, “The Surtis will be able to fly to international destinations in the next couple of months”
Recently, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel had earmarked Rs 1 crore for setting up immigration facilities at Surat airport in his budget speech. It was on September 20, 2017, the home department of Gujarat government had asked the DGP to allot 68 immigration staff for the airport in the financial year 2018-19.
It’s almost more than one-and-half-year the customs notified status for Surat airport was put on a back burner. The AAI had proposed the CBEC to approve customs at the airport in November-2016.
Earlier, Air India Express had shown its willingness to operate direct flight between Surat and Dubai, provided the airport gets the requisite customs and immigration facilities.
Air India Express CEO, K Shyam Sundar, visited the Surat airport to inspect the runway and terminal building and other infrastructure last year and met members of the social groups crusading for increased air-connectivity. Sundar stated that the company is keen to launch Surat-Dubai services, provided the infrastructure in the form of extended runway at 2,905 meters and the customs notified airport status are in place.
Air India Express is an Indian low-cost carrier headquartered in Kochi. It is operated by Air India Charters Limited (AICL), a wholly owned subsidiary of flag carrier airline Air India. It operates around 550 flights per week to 29 destinations including the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Sources said that the members of social group and the tours and travels association gave a detailed presentation on the potential of international flight services from Surat.
As per the rough estimate provided by the tours and travel association, around five lakh people from Surat and south Gujarat travelled to international destinations during 2017-18. The passenger traffic from the region is increasing by almost 20-25 per cent every year.
Last month, a technical team from Air India Express had visited the Surat airport for inspection of the infrastructural facilities.