Patna The new terminal building of Patna airport will be ready by mid-2022, with work expected to commence next month. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to lay its foundation stone after the Union government on Wednesday approved Rs 1,217 crore for construction of a new domestic terminal building and allied structures at Patna airport.Airport director Rajender Singh Lahauria said the time taken for construction of terminal building at the existing airport would be more than that in Bihta, where the Airports Authority of India had got 108 acres of virgin land. He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Tourism sector in Bihar – Opportunities and Challenges’, organised by the Bihar Industries Association (BIA) as part of the World Tourism Day on Thursday.“We will be able to construct the terminal building at Bihta in about two years, while the one at Patna airport will take at least three-and-a-half years. Relocating utility services for the new terminal building and dismantling existing structures, keeping the Patna airport functional, will be an onerous task, which will be time consuming,” he said.Lahauria also said that flight operation from Darbhanga would not commence before mid-2019, as runway strengthening work had to be undertaken there. The Spice Jet is scheduled to operate flights to Bangalore and Delhi from Darbhanga under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme (RCS).Similarly, it would take at least two years for Purnia to be taken up for bidding under RCS as the Indian Air Force was to undertake recarpeting of the runway work in two years there.Talking from tourists’ point of view, Lahauria urged the Bihar Industries Association (BIA) to pitch for a flight connecting Patna with Amritsar and Guwahati. He also suggested another flight between Patna and Ahmedabad.“Both Amritsar and Guwahati are important religious places — hosting the Golden temple in Amritsar and Kamakhya temple in Guwahati. A hopping flight connecting Patna with Amritsar and Guwahati will fetch good number of passengers,” he said.He also suggested that the BIA should explore the options of setting up a budget hotel near the airport as many passengers, coming from faraway places with early morning flights to catch, were found to be sleeping either on chairs or on floors outside the terminal building.The airport director said despite the severe congestion of flights in afternoon, a morning slot between 8.30am and 9.30am was available, where a flight or two could be easily accommodated here. He also listed several operational constraints, including lack of space, at the existing airport. Industrialist Shailendra P Sinha suggested having a flight between Patna and Bagdogra while Sanjeev Sinha of Mamata Hotels demanded an international service to Kathmandu as well.BIA president KPS Keshri was also present on the occasion.