India To Welcome Six New Airports Under Government Scheme

Photo sourced from Mint.

LONDON – The Indian government is supporting rural communities by promoting regional connectivity through a program called ‘UDAN’.

The government sees huge potential in unlocking the Indian economy by supporting or ‘democratizing’ air travel in India. This move will allow regional carriers like Alliance air and Star Air to operate in small and rural communities nationwide.

This new airport includes :

AirportsAirport TypeServesAirport Operator
Cooch Behar AirportPublicCooch BeharAAI
Malda AirportPublicEnglish Bazar MunicipalityAAI
Behala AirportPublicKolkataAAI
Burnpur AirportPrivate (IISCO Steel Plant of Steel Authority of India)AsansolAAI
Kalaikunda Air Force StationMilitaryIndian Air ForceEastern Air Command / Andaman and Nicobar Command
Hasimara Air Force StationMilitaryIndian Air ForceEastern Air Command

The airports listed above in the table are located in the eastern part of India as part of the UDAN regional connectivity program.

UDAN which stands for Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik meaning Let the common citizens of the country fly’ was launched on October 16.

The aim of the regional connectivity scheme is to make air travel affordable to boost inclusive economic development and job creation across India.

The airports of Cooch Behar Airport, Malda Airport, Behala Airport, Burnpur Airport, Kalaikunda Air Force Station, and Hasimara Air Force Station are expected to be ready for the public in two years, according to the eastern region executive Director of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Manoj Gangal.

The opening of the six regional airports in West Bengal is going to assist the region’s goal of becoming a modern industrial hub.

Airport Profiles:

Cooch Behar Airport has a single runway of 1,069m (3,507 ft) by 30m, which can easily handle a single ATR and a capacity to handle 110,000 passengers yearly.

Both Malda Airport and Burnpur Airport have a single runway of 1,100m by 30m and 1,034m by 24m respectively are currently being developed by the state government.

Like Cooch Behar Airport, these airports are currently in the process of enabling ATRs to operate in and out of their respective airports.

Behala Airport, which is currently only an only helicopter-operated airport, has the capability to accommodate two Dornier aircraft, a very popular plane for regional airliners in India.

This will shave off the burden at  Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport once it is operational.

Kalaikunda and Hasimara Air Force bases plan to also operate passenger services and will dedicate areas solely for civilian usage called ‘civilian enclaves’

Hasimara Air Force base has a single runway of 2,740m by 45m and will be developed by AAI for civilian use.  Indian regional airline Zoom Air eyes operating to the airport to and from Hyderabad and Kolkata airports.

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