By Prarthana Mitra
As a part of the aviation ministry’s ongoing development programme, several airports around India will undergo a massive expansion and makeover. Besides the improvement of existing airports, constructing world-standard international airports is also in the offing.
Here’s what happened
The government recently gave the final approval to the plans to build an international airport in Greater Noida. The upcoming Jewar Airport is poised to become the second runway for international flights in the National Capital Region, with construction scheduled to begin later this year.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been commissioned to develop the International Airport of Goa-Dabolim, and oversee the expansion of the passenger terminus and parking bays, in a project worth Rs. 400 crore. Another Rs. 3000 crore has also been earmarked for the construction of an international airport in North Goa.
Additionally, 88,000 square metres of land has been apportioned for a brand new integrated terminal at the Lucknow Airport. With work underway, the new terminal will soon be equipped to accommodate 2.6 million international and 11 million domestic passenger traffic annually.
Set to become the country’s 100th operational airport, the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month. Approved by the centre in 2008, the Pakyong Airport has been built at a height of 4,500 feet in an inhospitable terrain at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore.
Similar structural changes are in store for Chennai, Pune and Guwahati airports. Besides expanding terminal areas and adding adjunct buildings to handle more passengers, Chennai’s new terminal building will sport green features to achieve GRIHA-4 Star rating. Earlier this year, Pune Airport director Ajay Kumar spoke to the Financial Express, saying that the expansion is likely to include a new terminal building, new check-in counters and boarding gates, new road connectivity, solar power system, improved passenger amenities, even a trans-shipment facility for cargo. All three airports will be ready by 2027.
Why you should care
Although India’s airports rank among the world’s best, with New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport consistently topping all lists, the existing quantity and quality of our terminals and flights are not enough to address the exponential demand for air travel, especially to and from domestic destinations. Modi government’s UDAN scheme has already started work on that front, but there’s still a lot to be desired, and will hopefully be achieved through this large-scale revamping of airports.
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