NEW DELHI: If all goes according to the government’s plans, Allahabad will have a revamped airport ahead of the 2019 Ardh Kumbh mela. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has commissioned the construction of a new passenger terminal at Allahabad’s Bamrauli Airport, which is owned by the Indian Air Force.
Currently, only one ATR aircraft of national carrier Air India operates from the defence air base for civil operations from the Sangam city. Sources say that so tight is the time available to revamp the airport that Airports Authority of India (AAI) will set a record for itself if it meets the 11-month deadline.
The proposal of construction of a new terminal at Allahabad was sent by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told The Sunday Standard that AAI had two meetings with state government officials for deciding land for the new airport terminal. Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had sanctioned `290 crore for upgradation of the Bamrauli airstrip.
“There is a huge demand for air travel in Allahabad. Several airlines and judges of the Allahabad High Court had also been raising this for some time now. It is a challenging task because the project will have to be completed in a record time of 11 months. We are expected to begin our work by February 2018 and complete it by January 2019, ahead of the Kumbh mela in February 2019,” said Mohapatra.
The Bamrauli runway is 8,400 feet long and 150 feet wide, enough to allow Airbus A-320s or Boeing 737s to operate. The existing terminal can only handle 72 flights per month, including arrivals and departures. The new terminal is expected to handle around 250-300 operations each month.
Mohapatra said that with the new terminal, operations of civil flights would increase, lowering air fares to and from Allahabad due to competition. Indian carriers operate regular flights to about 20 defence airfields that have a civil enclave or passenger terminal.
These include IAF bases such as Gorakhpur, Allahabad and Bikaner, and Naval bases like Goa’s Dabolim and Andhra Pradesh’s Vishakhapatnam. AAI is also tasked with the responsibility of building new airports at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, Rajkot (Gujarat), Bhogapuram (Andhra Pradesh), Salem (Tamil Nadu) and Deoghar (Jharkhand), but AAI has prioritised the work at Allahabad due to the Kumbh mela in the city.
The Uttar Pradesh government has earmarked `500 crore to upgrade facilities in Allahabad before Ardh Kumbh.