BHUBANESWAR: With Biju Patnaik International Airport, the only airport of the State facing space constraints, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to set up a new airport on the outskirts of the city.
“The airport, which was started in 1962, is near saturation and faces severe space and runway related constraints. There is, thus, an urgent need to set up a new airport at Bhubaneswar given the tremendous growth potential of this Smart City,” Pradhan wrote to Prabhu on Friday. He further requested Prabhu for commissioning of a new terminal (terminal number 3) and revamping facilities at the two existing terminals to international standards.
Notably, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has initiated the process of identifying a suitable piece of land near Khurda on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, which is underway. “As construction for development of the airport takes considerable time, this process needs to be hastened to avoid severe air traffic congestion and needless public inconvenience,” he wrote.
Pradhan also proposed the Civil Aviation Minister for creation of an airline industrial hub in Bhubaneswar by setting up ancillary industries like maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) units, Airline Skilling Institutes, flight kitchens and parking bays in the vicinity of the proposed new airport in Bhubaneswar that will boost employment opportunities and development of the region.
Earlier, Pradhan had urged Prabhu for commissioning of a new airport in Paradip, which is emerging as the economic hub of the State with investments of around `92,000 crore in various sectors like petro-chemicals, roads and ports.
Expressing pleasure over upcoming plan for launching flight services from Jharsuguda under UDAN scheme, Pradhan urged Prabhu for his support for early operationalisation of UDAN scheme at remaining airports in Jeypore, Rourkela and Utkela.
He also proposed operationalisation of ATR-type flights connecting Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda, Ranchi, Raipur, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam to boost regional air connectivity.
Proposing for longer runway at Jharsuguda airport to handle bigger aircrafts, Pradhan sought Prabhu’s intervention for early completion of longer airstrip project and issue necessary directions to the officials concerned to initiate the process.
Drawing the attention of Prabhu to the World War II era airstrip (11,000 ft) at Amarda Road in Mayurbhanj district, Pradhan proposed revamping and its use for UDAN 2 flights. He said the airstrip can also serve as a parking and maintenance bay for flights coming from Kolkata given the tremendous congestion at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (NSCBIA) in Kolkata.
Pradhan requested Prabhu to consider limited passenger flight operations in the existing private airstrip at Angul under UDAN 2.