Darbhanga emerges as top airport under UDAN scheme
Since its launch two-and-a-half years ago, the airport has seen a total of 6,81,945 arrivals while the number of departing passengers stood at 7,06,931 till March 31, 2023, according to the data.
Darbhanga airport in Bihar has emerged as the top airport in the country under the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN since commercial flights began here two-and-a-half years ago, according to an official of the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
The airport has handled 14,13,510 passengers and 9,610 flights since it was launched on November 8, 2020, to April 15, 2023, the official said.
The number of passengers rose from 1,53,232 in financial year 2020-21 to 6,19,586 in FY 2021-22 and then to 6,16,058 in FY 2022-23.
Since its launch, the airport has seen a total of 6,81,945 arrivals while the number of departing passengers stood at 7,06,931 till March 31, 2023, according to the data.
“Meanwhile, the expansion of the passengers and flight handling capacity at Darbhanga airport has already begun on the additional 2.42 acres of land provided by the Indian Air Force,” Darbhanga airport director Satyendra Jha said.
“The existing terminal area of 1400 square metres will be expanded by an additional 1700 square metres, with a peak hour passenger handling capacity of 600 and a security hold area capacity of 660 passengers. The new facility will also have 11 check-in counters, four security checks, two X-ray machines, two hand baggage X-ray machines, two conveyor belts and four boarding gates,” the director said.
Moreover, ground work to set up the instrument landing system (ILS) to facilitate night landing and cope up with bad weather on 24 acres of land will be carried out by IAF from October. The AAI has given its nod to IAF in this regard.
Darbhanga airport, having longest runway of 9,000 feet in the state, is under the control of IAF.
“The construction of the permanent terminal building on 54 acres of land will commence soon even as installation of ILS on 24 acres is carried by IAF,” AAI said in response to a query.
“The process to rope in a consultancy firm to prepare the detailed project report has already commenced”, Jha said.
Meanwhile, former Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh, Prabhat Jha, who was in the town two days ago, said he would soon be meeting civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia with a request to prioritise development of Darbhanga airport.
Prabhat Jha hails from nearby Sitamarhi.
Recently, Bihar minister Sanjay Kumar Jha, who also hails from the area, had criticised selected airline operator Spicejet for soaring prices of air tickets from Darbhanga in comparison to Patna airport while underlining that this ran contrary to the stated objective of UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), which was to enable the common man to fly.
UDAN scheme was launched to enhance regional air connectivity. The scheme has connected 473 routes and 74 operational airports, heliports and water aerodromes, benefitting over 1.2 crore passengers, according to a press statement of ministry of civil aviation.
The first flight under UDAN scheme was launched between Delhi and Shimla on April 27, 2017, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.