Muzaffarpur, Purnia, Raxaul and Forbesganj expected to get airfields as low cost airports

Airfields as low cost airports

Representational image

Representational image

Under centre’s regional air connectivity scheme, christened Udan, which was launched on Friday, total 50 airports across the country are proposed to be upgraded. Also the civil aviation ministry is looking at 350 airstrips to be added to the Udan network. The four airfields in Bihar likely to be included in the Udan list are expected to be Muzaffarpur, Purnia, Raxaul and Forbesganj.

The low-cost airports will be comparatively smaller airports where the length of runway will be around 4,000ft. These airports would be primarily used by smaller aircraft with 50 to 60 seats. The overall cost for developing the proposed four airports in Bihar would be around Rs200 crore and it will take not less than three years to develop each of them.

Muzaffarpur and Raxaul airfields are used quite seldom and their runway length is 4500ft and 5,000ft respectively. Both airfields are mostly used for operation of government aircraft. The airfield at Purnia, on the other hand, is generally used by defence aircraft. Inspection report by AAI has been submitted for development of Muzaffarpur and Raxaul airfields as low-cost airports. Also inspection of Purnia airbase was conducted by both AAI and Air Force.

The government plans to develop around 160 unused or underused airstrips, utilizing funds to the tune of Rs50-100 crore per year. Also, 10 out of the 15 unused airstrips owned by AAI would be developed during 2016-17 fiscal.

Civil aviation experts, however, are of the view that development of low-cost airports would depend on a number of factors, including availability of land, environmental and other mandatory clearances, traffic projections and sufficient funds, among others. The airports would also require support services such as access by roads, water and power supply, security and emergency services like fire services, among others.

There are 21 airfields in Bihar, out of which three — Bihta, Purnia and Darbhanga — are under the Indian Air Force. Nine other airfields are in the category of ‘kaccha and abandoned’ airfields, which include that of Jehanabad and Ara. The rest are under the category of metalled runways having reinforced cement concrete (RCC) airstrips.

Source: TOI

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