The much-awaited domestic airport at Adampur is inching closer to reality with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) team, which visited the airbase to study feasibility in August last year, giving “positive feedback” to the Union civil aviation ministry to start commercial operations.
The facility will cater to NRIs from Doaba who have long been demanding an airport in the region.
“The report was submitted to the Union ministry in January. It says that a domestic airport can be set up at the airbase on around 50 acres of land available nearby. As far our parameters are concerned we hardly found any bottleneck,” a member of the AAI team that visited the site informed Hindustan Times.
The AAI team comprising Debashish Khan, general manager (planning), SK Soni, deputy general manager (operations) and Rajeev Handa, deputy general manager (civil) assessed the proposed airport site right from the wide access to the land on which the airport terminal will be constructed.
Union minister of state and Hoshiarpur MP Vijay Sampla, who led a delegation of local industrialists demanding setting up of the airport, said the AAI team has given report in favour in starting of domestic airport.
“I do not know what exactly the AAI team suggested to the ministry. But I was told by a secretary-level official that the report was positive. A meeting of Union civil aviation and defence ministries has been fixed in the second week of April to discuss the matter. It is going to be crucial meeting in which I have also been asked to attend,” Sampla said.
The MP claimed that Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar was keen on starting domestic flights from the airbase and he in a meeting few months back in Delhi with Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal had assured to clear all formalities as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the AAI has also given go-ahead for hiring a private consultancy firm by the airlines to study the operational feasibility with regard to customers.
“The consultancy officials have asked us to arrange meeting with at least 100 businessmen and travel agents in order to make an assessment of daily traffic from the Doaba region. The firm would hold a one-to-one meeting with all stakeholders to assess the flow of traffic to Delhi and some foreign countries.
We are waiting for the next communication from the firm so that we can finalise the date of meeting,” said Ashwani Victor, industrialist and member of the Doaba Airport Welfare Association (DAWA), a group of people campaigning for setting up of airport at Adampur.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has already announced to provide 50-acre land to the AAI for the purpose. The land owned by individuals, has been identified near the airport by the district administration.
The ministry of defence has already given its go-ahead for providing its air-strip for commercial use.