A spanking new terminal at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport here was inaugurated on Sunday, bridging further the country's infrastructure deficit.
Built at a cost of Rs.300 crore and modelled on the lines of Singapore's Changi airport, the terminal will be functional from next month.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, who inaugurated the terminal in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and three members of the union cabinet from Gujarat, said the government had embarked on an ambitious programme to overhaul air passenger movement facilities in the country.
A new swanky, world-class terminal was opened on Saturday at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.
The inauguration of the terminal marked the completion of the second phase of the eighth busiest airport in the country spread over 41,000 square metres of floor space and equipped to handle 100 domestic flights a day and more than 20 international ones.
A 410-metre-long travelator will connect the new to the existing terminal for passengers. A travelator is quite similar to an escalator, except it runs parallel to the ground.
With 32 check-in centres, 12 bays/aprons (aircraft parking space), and 4 aerobridges, the airport is equipped to handle 80 lakh passengers per annum against a current annual traffic of 27 lakh.
The upgradation of the airport is, however, not without costs for the passengers. The domestic air traveller will have to fork out Rs.110 as airport development charges and the international traveller Rs.415 per ticket.
Patel also said he would consider the demand raised by Modi and other central ministers from Gujarat to restart a flight to London from Ahmedabad which was stopped some time back for lack of traffic.
He also agreed to consider the demand for the installing of a statue of Sardar Patel at the airport.
Earlier, chief minister Modi asked for central support to promote inter-city air travel in the state. "Gujarat has 20 airports, five of them in Kutch alone," he added.