After Biju Patnaik Airport, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has now focused its attention on developing the Jharsuguda airstrip into a full-fledged airport within two and a half years.
“The process of handover of the required land by the Government is in advanced stages. Work would commence as soon as the land is made available to us and will be completed within the next 24 to 30 months”, AAI Chairman V P Agarwal said here on Monday.
The AAI has sought 276-acre land for the airport. In the initial phase, 119 acres would be required. It has already finalised plans for airport development pegging an investment of `143 crore. The airport would have all facilities and services from a new runway to terminals along with passenger amenities.
It will start off with two to three flights a day with around 70 to 80 passengers. Initially, the airport would handle small aircraft like ATR72 and Q400 and would gradually progress to accommodate large A320 Class aircraft.
The AAI is also all set to explore revival of other dormant airstrips in the State in a bid to establish all inclusive connectivity within the region. “We are working with the State Government to prepare a State Perspective Civil Aviation Plan for reviving the non-operational airstrips and upgrading them into proper airports wherever there is potential. There are 19 airstrips owned by the Odisha Government. The Government has proposed revival of the airstrips at Jeypore and Gopalpur initially. We are going to start a potential study for both the regions”, AAI Planning member S Raheja said.