Agartala: The State-run Airport Authority of India (AAI) has undertaken a Rs 3,500 crore project for the expansion and up-gradation of airports in the northeastern States, where 13 airports are currently operational, a top AAI official said on Thursday.
The AAI has allocated Rs 1,250 crore for Guwahati airport, Rs 650 crore for Imphal (Manipur), Rs 500 crore for Agartala (Tripura), Rs 650 crore for a greenfield airport at Hollongi in Arunachal Pradesh, and Rs 450 crore for the Lengpui Airport in Mizoram and other airports in the region.
“The AAI has been trying its best to complete the projects worth Rs 3,500 crore, at the earliest. Compared to the mountainous terrain and expenditure to develop roads and laying railway tracks in Northeast India, air connectivity is the cheapest and most time-saving solution for connectivity in the region,” Airport Authority of India Regional Executive Director Sanjiv Jindal said.
He said that all modern facilities would be installed in these airports as several international airliners have shown interest in operating flights from the region.
“The airports should be developed in such a way so that wide-body big aircraft and international airplanes can land and fly from the Northeast India airports.”
“From tourism point of view, there is huge scope of developing air connectivitiy between the Northeastern region and other countries, including China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
“Under the Regional Connectivity Schemes, air connectivity would be developed among the northeastern States. Helicopter services would also be extended in several areas of the region,” Jindal said.
According to the official, there are 10-12 airports in the northeastern States which were used many years ago. Now, these airports or airstrips can be upgraded to operate smaller aircrafts.
He said that under the Rs 500 crore projects ongoing in Agartala airport, which was renamed last year as Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport, full body scanners would be installed here for the first time in India.
“Besides, cold storage, huge cargo storage, hangars, escalators, lifts, isolation bay, several aerobridges, child care room, prayer room, bio-matrix devices would be commissioned in the MBB airport,” Jindal said, accompanied by Agartala Airport Director Vipin Kant Seth.
Seth said that the current length of the runway at the Agartala airport is 2,286 meters and it would be expanded up to 3,000 meters. (IANS)