Guwahati: In an bid to connect the Northeastern states to the international markets and boost trade with neighbouring countries of the region, the Airports Authority of India has initiated an ambitious initiative to develop the Guwahati, Imphal and Agartala airports in Assam, Manipur and Tripura, respectively.
At the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, construction work for a new integrated terminal building has begun with over 200 pillars already being erected at the site. Built at a cost of Rs 1,232 crore, the new terminal will be spread across 90,000 sq m.
The proposal for a new terminal was made on the basis of a rise in the footfall at the airport. The existing terminal with an area of 16,800 sq m was designed to cater to 3.5 million passengers annually. However, from 2015-16, the number of passenger swelled to 3.8 million, an increase of 8.5%, in 2016-17. This trend has continued in the current year as well.
Guwahati, being the major city of Assam and a hub for the region, recorded 46,68,053 passengers in the year 2017-18. It was the eighth busiest among all the Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports in the country in the same fiscal.
The new airport will able to cater 3,100 passengers at peak hour with 2,900 domestic and 200 international commuters. The new terminal will also have a capacity of around 250 flights per day against the current traffic of 160 flights.
“Considering the importance of Guwahati in the Northeast Region, the airport is being developed as an intra- and inter-regional hub to accelerate socio-economic development of the region,” said Dharmendra Kumar Kamra, the regional executive director of AAI, Northeast region.
The new airport will have 64 check-in counters for the convenience of commuters. With 20 parking bays at the new terminal, the Guwahati airport aims to increase the flight capacity to 300 flights per day. For the convenience of passengers, the new building will also have 20 self-check-in kiosks.
The new airport will work as a gateway to East and Southeast Asia through increased facilities of immigration. The integrated building will have eight immigration counters for international arrivals and departures.
Keeping in mind the size of the airport, the AAI has proposed a travelator to make passengers’ experience comfortable. The new airport will also have 10 aerobridges and 10 escalators.
Meanwhile, the central government has planned to invest Rs 3,500 crore in the next five years to improve airports in the Northeast region.
The AAI also has detailed projects to upgrade the Imphal Airport in Manipur. Around Rs 600 crore will be spent on construction of the new terminal building at the airport.
The AAI has decided to develop Imphal Airport as an intra-regional hub. Around 600 acres of land has already been handed over by the government of Manipur for the project. Construction of a hangar suitable for housing Airbus 321 has already started at the site. The MoU has been signed with state government for the construction of an integrated cargo terminal.
Similarly, a plan for modernisation of the Agartala Airport has been approved by the AAI. The new terminal will have peak-hour capacity of 1,000 domestic and 200 international passengers at a time. The cost of the upcoming new projects has been estimated at about Rs 496 crore.