Agartala: After Guwahati and Imphal, the Agartala airport is set to become the third international airport in the northeastern region by the end of this year or by early 2020, a Minister said here.
“The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has informed us that their ongoing work to make Agartala’s Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport as an international one would be completed by this year end. But if the work are hampered due to the monsoon season or any other factor, then the declaration would be made by early 2020,” Tripura Transport and Tourism Minister Pranajit Singha Roy said.
The AAI had undertaken a Rs 438 crore project to upgrade the Agartala airport to international standards by providing world-class facilities.
“The budgeted expenditure of Rs 438 crore is expected to be escalated. However, our government constantly asking the AAI to complete the works early and maintain the stipulated standards,” the Minister added.
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb also recently discussed with the Civil Aviation Minister in New Delhi about the upgradation of the Agartala airport, which was built in 1942 by then King Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur.
According to an official of the Chief Minister's Office, Union Civil Aviation Minister Raj Kumar Singh responded positively when Deb requested him to expedite the works.
The airport in Agartala is the second busiest in the northeast after Guwahati's Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. The Imphal airport was declared as an international one two years ago.
During the World War II, the Agartala airport was used by the 4th Combat Cargo Group of the US Army Air Forces 10 Air Force, flying Curtiss C-46 Commando aircraft over Myanmar. It was used as a supply point from which the unit air-dropped supplies and ammunition to the advancing Allied forces on the ground.
Following the completion of the project, Singha Roy said flights between Agartala and Dhaka, as well as other Bangladeshi cities like Chittagong and Sylhet, will be operated. (IANS)