Bi­har Govt and Cen­tre Join Hands to Re­solve Patna Air­port Prob­lem

New ter­mi­nal to be built, but air­port to be later shifted to nearby Air Force base

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Mi­hirMishra@ times­group.com

New Delhi: Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter Ni­tish Kumar may dif­fer po­lit­i­cally, but their govern­ments at the Cen­tre and state have reached a com­mon ground to re­solve the is­sues sur­round­ing Patna air­port.

As part of the so­lu­tion, a new ter­mi­nal will be built at the ex­ist­ing air­port in Patna in the first phase and the air­port, in the sec­ond and fi­nal phase, will be even­tu­ally shifted to an Air Force base in Bi­hta near Patna, where the state govern­ment will ac­quire 70 acres of land.

The cen­tral govern­ment will in­vest .₹ 1,200 crore in build­ing ter­mi­nals at both the ex­ist­ing and the pro­posed air­port. While the new ter­mi­nal at the ex­ist­ing air­port is likely to come by 2018-19, the new ter­mi­nal at the Bi­hta air­port is likely to come by 2019-20. Patna, along with Jammu and Leh air­ports, have been termed un­safe for flight oper­a­tions by the avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor and the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ICAO) has raised con­cerns over it in its au­dit.

“The process to build the new ter­mi­nal will be­gin im­me­di­ately af­ter the state govern­ment pro­vides land near the ex­ist­ing air­port. There’s noth­ing that can be done to ex­pand the run­way at the ex­ist­ing air­port and the air­port will even­tu­ally be shifted to an Air Force base in Bi­hta. The state govern­ment will send a pro­posal now,” said a se­nior avi­a­tion min­istry of­fi­cial, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied.

The plan was de­cided af­ter avi­a­tion sec­re­tary RN Choubey, Joint Sec­re­tary (air­ports) Arun Kumar and Air­ports Au­thor­ity of In­dia (AAI) chair­man S Ra­heja met Bi­har’s chief sec­re­tary and other state of­fi­cials in Patna.

Ac­cord­ing to the plan, the state govern­ment will pro­vide about 10 acres of land near the ex­ist­ing air­port to build the new ter­mi­nal. “The state govern­ment owns about 10 acres of land near the ex­ist­ing air­port. This land will be given to AAI in a swap deal, wherein the air­port op­er­a­tor will give the state govern­ment a 10 acre land par­cel in­side the city for the land near the air­port.

AAI will build a new ter­mi­nal with a ca­pac­ity of 3.0 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per an­num,” said the of­fi­cial.

The ca­pac­ity of the ex­ist­ing ter­mi­nal at Patna air­port is 0.5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per an­num and the air­port wit­nessed a 32% surge in the to­tal num­ber of pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling dur­ing April-Fe­bru­ary 2015-16 com­pared with the same pe­riod a year ago. The air­port is also likely to cross the an­nual 1.5 mil­lion pas­sen­ger limit to be­come a ma­jor air­port (ac­cord­ing to rules, any air­port that caters to over 1.5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers an­nu­ally be­comes a ma­jor air­port). Un­der the sec­ond phase, the air­port will be shifted to Bi­hta air­base. “The state govern­ment will ac­quire 70 acres of land near the Bi­hta air­base to con­struct a new ter­mi­nal for pas­sen­gers. The state govern­ment will also have to widen con­nect­ing roads to the pro­posed air­port,” said the se­nior of­fi­cial. The Bi­hta air­base has a 9,000 feet run­way and is spread across an area of 9,000 acres. Up­grade and shift­ing of the air­port in Patna was on the Modi govern­ment’s agenda as part of the Bi­har pack­age an­nounced be­fore the Assem­bly elec­tions in the state.

Patna, along with Jammu and Leh air­ports, have been termed un­safe for flight oper­a­tions by the avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor

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