Meerut airport to be upgraded to intl levels

Written by Deepa Jainani | Lucknow | Updated: Oct 16 2009, 04:27am hrs
While the Centre has put the Uttar Pradesh governments proposed international airport at Kushinagar on hold citing environmental issues, an undeterred state government has now come up with another proposal to set up an international airport at Meerut.

At present, the city has an aiport but it is only used for unscheduled flights. The plan is to build a new airport of international standerd on same location. The state government has already issued a notice for appointing a consultant to prepare a comprehensive feasibility project report, a bid document and the concession agreement for the proposed airport. The project would be implemented through public-private partnership on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis.

It is the state governments intention to have an international airport at Meerut, based on a study conducted on the areas traffic density. Following this, the ministry of civil aviation, has given its in-principle approval to the project. We will now appoint a consultant who will submit a proposal after studying traffic flow, soil testing etc, a senior official of the civil aviation department said on the condition of anonymity.

The need for a second airport on the fringes of the national capital region has been a long standing demand of the Uttar Pradesh government, especially in view of the burgeoning air traffic at the Delhi airport.

The Delhi airport is congested with virtually no possibility of extension, said the official, adding that an Airports Authority of India study shows that by 2015-16, the estimated air traffic at the IGI Airport will hit 108 million, which will add to the air congestion.

The proposed airport will not only cater to the industrial towns of western UP but would also be of immense relief to neighbouring Uttarakhand. The Meerut airport will not only connect western UP to the other parts of the country but will offer an alternative to people of this part of the country who would want to travel overseas, said the official.

It may be mentioned here that the UP government had earlier proposed a greenfield airport in Jewar, Greater Noida, but the Attorney Generals office had ruled out the proposal as it would have violated the agreement signed between the GMR Group, promoter of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, and the ministry of civil aviation.

Soon after, the state government mooted the idea of an international airport at Kushinagar.

The Centre stayed the proposal, seeking details on its impact on the environment. It also directed the state government to seek public opinion on the issue.

On being asked whether Meerut airport will have the same fate as the other two airports, the official said, Jewar was ruled out due to the clause which states that there should be a minimum distance of 150 km between a new airport and an existing one.