While the Centre has put the Uttar Pradesh government’s 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 government’s intention to have an international airport at Meerut, based on a study conducted on the area’s 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 General’s 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.