During the last seven years, a total of 6 international airports have emerged in the country, Civil Aviation Minister of State, V K Singh said on Thursday (15 December).
Replying to a query in the Lok Sabha, the minister said that these new international airports include both greenfield as well as existing airports.
24 Airports Before 2014
Airports are presently classified in four broad categories — international airports, custom airports, domestic airports and civil enclaves in Defence Airport.
International Airports are available for scheduled international operations by Indian and foreign carriers.
There were 24 international airports in the country before 2014. These included Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Nagpur, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Guwahati, Jaipur, Goa, Calicut, Srinagar, Port Blair, Lucknow, Varanasi, Tiruchirappalli, Mangalore, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar and Imphal.
During the last seven years, four Greenfield airports namely, Kannur in Kerala, Shirdi in Maharashtra, Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh and Mopa in Goa have been constructed as international airports.
In addition, two existing airports namely, Vijayawada and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh were declared as international airports in the year 2017.
Kannur International Airport started its commercial operations on 9 December 2018, becoming the fourth international airport in Kerala, the only state in the country to have 4 international airports.
Shirdi International Airport which is 14-km from Shirdi was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind on 1 October 2017.
Inaugurated on 21 October 2021 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Kushinagar International Airport is the third international airport in Uttar Pradesh.
Kushinagar is a town and a historical place located in the north-eastern area of Uttar Pradesh. This is a Buddhist pilgrimage where Gautam Buddha had Mahaparinirvana (death) and is one of the main four sites of Buddhist pilgrimage circuit i.e., places where Lord Buddha lived, others being — Bodh Gaya, Lumbini and Sarnath.
For this reason, it is also an international tourist destination where Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world come for excursions.
The Mopa International Airport in Goa was inaugurated on 11 December 2022 and will significantly improve connectivity as well as boost tourism in Goa. The new airport named as Manohar International Airport (MIA) is set to commence operations from 5 January 2023.
The government is working on adding more international airports, going ahead, to provide more convenient connections to international and domestic passengers.
These include Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) in Mumbai, Dholera International Airport at Dholera in Gujarat, Noida International Airport (NIA) at Jewar and Maryada Purshottam Shri Ram International Airport at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
UP Leading The Chart
Kerala currently has four operational airport all of which are international airports.
These are located in Kochi, Malappuram, Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur districts. Cochin International Airport at Kochi is the third busiest international airport of the country.
The neighbouring Tamil Nadu has three operational international airports at Chennai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchirappalli (Trichy).
Uttar Pradesh currently has three operational international airports located at Kushinagar, Lucknow and Varanasi. But with two more airports coming up at Jewar and Ayodhya, both of which are under construction, the state will have the highest number of international airports in the country.
The Maryada Purshottam Shri Ram International Airport, located 8 km from the Ram temple in Ayodhya, is being developed at the cost of Rs 160 crore.
Civil work on the terminal building and the runway is expected to be completed by December this year. The licensing process will start from March next year so that flights operation can be initiated by December 2023.
Similarly, NIA is the upcoming greenfield airport at Jewar in Gautam Buddha Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh. It will enhance domestic as well as international connectivity to and from Delhi-NCR, Noida and Western Uttar Pradesh.
The airport, billed to be India's largest upon completion, will be developed in four phases, after which it would have an annual passenger capacity of 70 million and two terminal buildings, spread across an area of 5,000 acres.
As per the concession agreement, the first phase for 12 million passengers per annum is to be completed and made operational by September 2024.
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