Direct flights from Lucknow to Baghdad and Najaf in Iraq may soon be a reality as various airlines have evinced interest in starting flights on this route.
Officials of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) admitted that at least two airlines were interested in operating flights to these destinations, as Lucknow had adequate traffic for these cities.
Last year, the All-India Shia Personal Law Board had written to union minister for civil aviation, Chaudhary Ajit Singh, to start a flight on this route, which was taken seriously by the minister.
Meanwhile, the AAI has permitted Spice Jet to operate domestic and international flights from the Lucknow airport. Reason: Both the terminals of Lucknow are operational and the airport authority is in a position to handle more flights.
AAI officials said the airline had expressed its desire to start operations from January 20, but it may take them around 10 more days to start proper operations.
Airport director Suresh Chand Hota said: “We have a number of proposals from private airlines. With both the terminals becoming operational, now we want to increase the number of flights besides providing facility for landing of bigger aircraft.”
Flights for Iraq and other countries l i ke Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are in the pipeline, but before that the AAI wants to ensure proper services for the staff coming to Lucknow.
There are certain things, which are making things difficult for the AAI in Lucknow. Big planes like Boeing 747 or 757 require at least 12,000 meters of runway, but the runway at Lucknow airport is about 8,448 meters only, which is fit for landing of small and mid-sized aircraft.
“The AAI has sought permission from the state government for the expansion of the runway towards Kanpur road. If the nod is given, there would be more international flights from Lucknow,” added Hota.