Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel has said the Union Government has in principle approved a plan to develop the Kannur airport on the lines of Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL).
The Minister was speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Consultative Committee on Civil Aviation here on Monday.
He said the Union Government would back promotion of tourism industry by the Kerala Government and that the Centre was committed to providing better connectivity and infrastructure.
The Committee had extensive deliberations on better connectivity for south India and Kerala. This was a good year for civil aviation and there were big opportunities as well. Domestic growth was around 50 per cent this year, while in the international sector the growth was about 25 per cent, he said.
Mr. Patel said the Government wanted to link more cities via air and looked to inducting smaller aircraft for the purpose. He said Kerala was already well connected to West Asia and the Union Government wanted connectivity to destinations such as Europe also.
The Civil Aviation Ministry was looking to expand the Air India Express service for cost-effective operations.
Mr. Patel said the thrice-weekly direct flight between Kochi and Delhi would be made daily.
The Union Government is also planning to expand the airport at Agatti. Aviation network will be established to link cities of religious importance, the Minister said.