Mumbai: The state government is working on a scheme to provide flights on low-connectivity routes from bigger cities to smaller towns, officials said.
"People have to travel by road from Nagpur to Chandrapur for over three hours whereas by flight the distance can be covered in 25 minutes. However, there is no Nagpur-Chandrapur flight," state general administration department's Additional Chief Secretary P S Meena said.
Airline companies have shown interest in the proposal and selection of operators for the scheme would be done through tenders, he said.
Currently, there are 22 airports in the state but there is no air connectivity from bigger cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad to smaller towns.
A senior department official informed that the government proposes to reserve few seats on flights operating to the small towns.
"Bureaucrats who need to travel throughout the state, including in remote areas, can use this service. If no one is able to travel, the government will still pay for the tickets," the official said, adding that such a scheme is operational in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The government is also looking for an alternative land for expansion of Chandrapur airport. There are also plans to construct airports at Parbhani and Gadchiroli. The respective
district collectors have been asked to look for land, the official said.
Apart from the existing 22 airports in the state, one each in Shirdi, Navi Mumbai and Sindhudurg are in the process of construction, while in Beed, a proposal for airport did not take off owing to lack of availability of land, he added.