IAC : Breaking News : Tug Of War

Tug of war between the AAI & The state Government

CHENNAI: The tug-of-war between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the state government over relocation of the Madras Flying Club (MFC) has reached a deadlock. 

Last week, the government asked the AAI to provide an alternate site for the club in response to an AAI eviction notice telling the club to vacate the building on the airport campus by April 5. "We approached the state government for a solution. It informed AAI that the club cannot be vacated till another site is provided," said MFC secretary Captain K Sebastian Joseph. 

According to the AAI, the club building has to be demolished to straighten a taxi track used by aircraft to reach the Guindy-end of the main runway. However, this has allegedly not been mentioned in the eviction notice. 

The taxiway parallel to the main runway takes a sharp turn north and runs close to the main runway to avoid the apron of the old airport terminal, now used as a cargo terminal. "The AAI had promised at a high-level meeting attended by government officials in October 2010 that status quo would be maintained till an alternative location is handed over," Captain Joseph added. But the AAI is yet to allot an alternative space or building and the club has opposed the move. 

The fate of over 60 students will be uncertain if the club is shifted. A majority of the students have been given the Centre's SC/ST and DGCA scholarships. The rest have taken bank loans to pay the fees. If the club is evicted, the government will have to look for an alternative space to park its aircraft — a Cessna Citation and a helicopter — that are currently at the club's hangar. 

The MFC was founded in 1930 and the building given by the then civil aviation department. "When the AAI took over administration of airports, it charged a licence fee. The MFC pays an annual fee of Rs 2.8 lakh," said Sebastian. AAI sources said there was also a move to evict the Bombay Flying Club and Delhi Flying Club because the fee paid by such clubs, including the one in Chennai, is at a subsidised rate. 

Source:  " The Times Of India"

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