Bihar hands over another 24 acres of land to upgrade Darbhanga airport

The process of acquisition of 24 acres of land sought by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) from the state government for expansion of runway and establishment of night landing facility at Darbhanga airport has been completed in just 10 months, according to the district administration.

The process to acquire another 54 acres of land for construction of permanent terminal building will be completed by February next year, officials said.

“The district land acquisition officer (DLAO) handed over the charge of the 24 acres of land parcel to the joint secretary (cabinet secretariat) on Monday (October 17) so that it can now be transferred to AAI on behalf of the state government,” said district public relation officer (DPRO) N K Gupta.

Darbhanga airport, which became operational under regional connectivity scheme (RCS), popularly known as — Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagarik (UDAN) — on November 8, 2020, has emerged very successful after selected airline operator Spicejet introduced flight operations from Darbhanga on three routes — Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Later, IndiGo airlines also launched its operation on Kolkata and Hyderabad sectors.

In order to make IAF station at Darbhanga ready for civilian flights, the AAI had undertaken necessary works for commencement of flight operations, such as resurfacing of the runway, construction of civil enclave, construction of taxi-links and other passenger amenities, sources familiar with the development said.

“However, in view of massive footfall of passengers, civil aviation ministry had to drop its earlier demand seeking 31 acres of land from state government that was needed for construction of permanent terminal building. The state government had even released fund and wanted the AAI to conduct an inspection of land to be swapped with Indian Air Force (IAF).The AAI inspection team then sought 78 acres of land — 54 acres for construction of permanent terminal and 24 acres for installation of instrument landing system (ILS) to facilitate night landing and cope with bad weather,” said Bihar’s water resources department (WRD) and information and public relation department (IPRD) minister Sanjay Kumar Jha, who recently met union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in New Delhi.

“I have urged civil aviation minister to introduce more flights and allot empty slots also to different airlines so that passengers get benefits of competition. The Spicejet has reduced number of its flights operating from Darbhanga airport after the DGCA grounded 50% of its fleet for certain period due to safety concerns,” the minister said

Due to the establishment of ILS (CAT-1) navigation facility at Darbhanga airport, the movement of aircrafts will be possible even at night hour also even as it will facilitate in increasing the number of flights besides providing flight connectivity to new cities and more destinations on passengers demand, revealed an official