Imphal airport will be upgraded to an international airport next month and Agartala airport will be elevated to that status in another two and a half years, official sources said on Thursday.
“Imphal airport development work is complete. The set up for security and immigration check are being made now. Soon, flights could be operated to Yangon in Myanmar,” Civil Aviation Secretary K.N. Srivastava told reporters.
Mr. Srivastava said Agartala airport would be upgraded to an international airport by two and a half years and flights would be operated to Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh to facilitate travel for high-level international business delegations and tourists.
A high-level meeting of officials of Airports Authority of India (AAI) was held on Thursday for upgradation of Agartala airport.
The meeting was attended by Civil Aviation Secretary K N Srivastava, Chairman of AAI, V P Agarwal, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, and top officials of the state government.
Mr. Srivastava said the AAI would invest Rs. 250 crore for expansion of runways, creating infrastructures like aprons to accommodate 15 aircraft, modern terminal building, parking places and air traffic control towers.
“The new terminal building will be at least twice as big as its present size and the apron would be four times bigger than its present size. The design and planning would be completed within three months,” he said.
The present airport here is set up on 70 acres of land and additional 107.46 acres of land would be acquired for which 140 families would be shifted and rehabilitated elsewhere, Mr. Srivastava said.
He said the meeting also discussed about developing two abandoned airports, Kailashahar in Unakoti district and Kamalpur in Dhalai district.
“Kamalpur airport would be made operational soon, but for Kailashahar airport scarcity of land has come on the way. If land is available, it would also be made operational”, he said.
Look East Policy
Official sources said as part of its “Look East” policy, India is now trying to establish connectivity and trade with Southeast Asian countries.
The North Eastern Council (NEC) has invited fresh bids recently for a dedicated airline in the region, sources in NEC said.
There are 11 operational airports in the North-East, including Tezpur, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Silchar in Assam, Dimapur in Nagaland, Agartala in Tripura, Aizawl in Mizoram, Imphal in Manipur and Barapani in Meghalaya.
The proposed regional airline will also be connected with Bagdogra airport in North Bengal.