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24-hour landing at Patna airport by March, expansion work to begin in May 2018

The decisions were taken during a meeting between union civil aviation minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, in Patna on Monday.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2017 21:59 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Patna airport,24hour landing,Expansion from May
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar welcoming union civil aviation minister PA Gajathi Raju in Patna on Monday. (Santosh/HT photo)

There is finally some good news for frequent flyers of Bihar. Work for the construction of new-look extended terminal building of Patna’s Jayprakash Narayan International Airport, with an annual capacity to handle 4.5 million passengers, will begin from May 2018.

The decision was taken during a meeting between union civil aviation minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju and chief minister Nitish Kumar. Officials presented three designs, out of which the one based on Nalanda University ruins, was approved. The project will be completed in 36 months.

Sharing details, Sudhir Raheja, member (planning), Airport Authority of India, said, “the discussion with the CM was very fruitful. He gave several suggestions which will be integrated in the five-level structure with five aero bridges for direct access to planes.”

The 5,700 square meter building, he said, would have a squarish pattern—based on Nalanda ruin structure, and have interiors with Madhubani style of art along with replica of some important artefacts exhibited in Bihar Museum.

The proposed expansion, though hamstrung by land availability woes , will have better passenger circulation area with 11 parking bays and separate levels for baggage, arrival and departure. “While the scope for runway expansion is limited, the integrated building will be in a better position to handle small international flights,” he said.

In the meantime, AAI has set its eye to start 24-hour landing facility at the Patna airport from March 25 to handle the increasing congestion. JNIA has been witnessing the highest traffic growth in the country, which was 21.12 lakh last year and is set to cross the 30 lakh mark this fiscal, informed RS Lahauria, director, JNIA.

On being asked whether the state government has agreed on the removal of state hanger, he replied in affirmative saying “we will create a prefab structure as replacement or else the project will be delayed by 6-7 months.”

As for the work on Bihta airport, Raheja said that it would be over in a year’s time. He, however, said that the CM has conveyed his desire for downsizing of the land requirement from the current level of 156 acres. “The joint use of IAF and civil enclave will not be a problem area,” he said.

The proposal for setting up a green field airport at Nalanda—an Airports Authority of India (AAI) project —also came for discussion, with the AAI presenting the town planning model (TPM) developed by Gujarat’s CEPT university as an alternative proposal to allay problem involved in land acquisition.

Sudhir Raheja of AAI said that though only 936 acres was required for airport, the requirement of 3.78 sq km area for a model airport would not be an issue if land pooling was adopted to develop a 16 sq km township of which the airport would a small part.

Based on TPM, the area could be developed for the benefit of all stakeholders, with the sale of commercial areas meeting a sizeable portion of development cost, he said.

On being asked about the viability of the airport, Raheja said with air traffic registering an exponential growth, viability is not an issue at all.

First Published: Oct 30, 2017 21:59 IST