Patna airport to get Rs 1,200 crore facelift to handle post-covid demand surge

Patna airport is one of the country’s fastest-growing airports in terms of annual passenger growth

Patna airport to get Rs 1,200 crore facelift to handle post-covid demand surge
The existing terminal at the Patna airport handles almost 4.5 million passengers per annum. Image courtesy: Wikipedia

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is investing Rs 1,217 crore for the complete makeover of the Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport in Patna to meet the increasing footfall at the airport. 

The modernisation and expansion work is expected to be completed by March 2023 after which the airport will have a capacity to handle eight million passengers per annum, said the national airport operator AAI. To put it in perspective, Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport handled nearly 70 million passengers in 2018. 

The Covid-19 outbreak had shaken the aviation sector the world over, and India has not been an exception. Scheduled commercial passenger flight operations were stalled towards the end of March to check the spread of the coronavirus, but domestic operations started in a limited way on May 25 with 30% flight operation capacity. 

Since then, the milestones of 1,000 flight departures and over 1 lakh passengers handled in a day was reached in August. Now the government plans to increase the flight operation capacity to 60% of the pre-covid levels, and civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri expects to take domestic flight operations to full capacity by the end of 2020. Hence, it is judicious of the government to prepare airports for the post-covid demand surge.  

According to the plan, the expansion work at the Patna airport will include a new terminal building, cargo complex, multi-level car parking (MLCP), air traffic control-cum-technical building, fire station and apron with 14 aircraft parking bays.

Officials said the Patna airport is one of the country’s fastest-growing airports in terms of annual passenger growth. The existing terminal handles almost 4.5 million passengers per annum, which will be doubled to eight million after the completion of the expansion work.

The airport will have separate departure (upper) and arrival (lower) levels and with the departure level connected by a flyover to the airport's entry gate and by a link bridge to the multi-level car parking.

The upcoming building will be a 4-star GRIH-rated energy-efficient building equipped with 52 check-in counters, in-line baggage handling system, five conveyor belts for arriving passengers, well-connected with lifts and escalators, centrally air-conditioned, five aerobridges and interiors depicting the art and culture of Bihar. A provision of a 62,000 sqft commercial space has also been kept for world-class shopping facilities for passengers’ delight.

The multi-level car parking will comprise a ground-plus-five-storeyed building that can manage 750 passengers, and it will be connected with the departure level of the new terminal building through a link bridge for pedestrian movement. With the completion of the extension, a new area of about 2,000 sq m will be added to the existing terminal resulting in an increase of check-in counters, arrival conveyor belts, and registered baggage scanning machines.

According to the officials, the additional infrastructure will significantly reduce the waiting time in queues and improve passenger movement at the Patna airport.

The much-awaited Deoghar airport 

The AAI said that the construction of the Deoghar airport in Jharkhand will be completed "very soon". The 2,500 m runway is equipped to handle the landing of Airbus A320 planes.

The terminal building will have six check-in counters and two arrival conveyor belts with a peak-hour handling capacity of 200 passengers.

The airport will spread across 653.75 acres of land and its terminal building is being built in an area of 4,000 sq m.

The foundation stone of the airport was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a video link from an event in Sindri in Jharkhand on May 25, 2018. The Deoghar airport will be the second airport in Jharkhand after Ranchi. The much-awaited airport is being made in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Jharkhand government.