Jammu and Kashmir News
Jammu, June 24: As part of the Airport Authority of India’s (AAI) expansion and modification project, the arrival lounge of the Jammu Airport was extended and the brand new lobby was inaugurated by the MP Jugal Kishore Sharma along with Regional Executive Director, Airports Authority of India, Rakesh Kalra.
Bigger Arrival Lounge CANNOT still manage actual requirement
The Airport of Jammu caters to more than 3,000 passengers on a daily basis. And since the last four years, it has seen a considerable increase in the passenger traffic, however, it still lags behind as far as infrastructure is concerned.
2 Projects that J&K State Govt has not approved for years
Due to the delay by the State Govt, the AAI, which already had the blueprints of two future projects ready, could not take them up. The first plan is the construction of a new Airport terminal with an estimated cost of Rs 500 crore, a new building at Balicharana area for 1,500 Pax peak hour capacity, 22 new parking stands for aircrafts, six passenger boarding bridges and multilevel parking for about 500 vehicles.
Extension of Departure Lounge
The departure lounge will be expanded within a year as per the AAI Regional Director. Despite their assurances, the enhancement of the Jammu airport seems a distant dream. In 2008, the AAI had requested the State Govt to give out 137 acres of land for the expansion, but the approval regarding the same has been pending ever since.
Runway Needs Extension
Moreover, the extension of the runway by 1,300 feet has also been delayed due to delay in land transfer. The present length of the runway is 6,700 feet which is inadequate for operation of bigger aircraft.
Losses in Crores every year
Due to the poor length and bad condition of the runway, the airlines are operating with load penalty of 20 per cent, resulting in high airfare and revenue loss of approximately Rs 5 crore per annum to the AAI.
Land transfer has not happened for years
To this the Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Pawan Kotwal said that the state government has agreed to hand over the land to the AAI for expansion of the airport, but they still have to relocate the existing infrastructure which takes time and work is going on.
Yes, we can be relieved that some work has atleast been done to improve the airport which looked no better than J&K’s Railway Station!
But we cannot stop demanding that Jammu gets a better airport. It is our lassitude that has hurt Jammu in every sphere and if Jammu can pay 75 percent of the states taxes to centre, it might very well have a bigger, better, shinier Airport !!!
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