The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad has been chosen as one of the airports to be developed as an International hub by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. This announcement was recently made in the Rajya Sabha by K C Venugopal, Minister of State for Civil Aviation.
As the name suggests, an international airport is the one having facilities for entry and departure of international traffic. The body called ‘International Civil Aviation Organization’ (ICAO) decides on conferring the stature of ‘International airport’ to any airport within the contracting state. These airports differ from the normal airports in the fact that they provide customs, immigration and clearance facilities to the arriving customers. Other checks like the public health and the agricultural quarantine can also be duly carried out at an international airport.
The striking difference between an international hub and an international airport is that the former has all the facilities of the latter, but in large volumes. An international hub is designed to handle a lot more customers than an international airport. Also, the connectivity of an international hub, be it the domestic network or the international network, is much more enhanced keeping in mind the large and varied volumes of the passengers arriving at the airport.
The Civil Aviation Ministry of the Government of India has zeroed in on 6 airports in all to be developed as international hubs. Apart from the Rajiv Gandhi Airport in Hyderabad, the other chosen airports are the Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and the Chennai International airports. The government is taking a number of steps to expedite the entire process. A standing inter-ministerial group has also been formed, after a Union Cabinet meeting in May last year, in order to have sure that there are no delays in the developments. They have been given the responsibility of making sure that these aviation hubs become a reality as soon as possible.