The Government of Gujarat signed an MoU with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which includes the expansion of nine existing airports and construction of eleven new greenfield airports.
The state government aims to build eleven greenfield airports in the next five years. Earlier this month, the state government and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed an MoU for eleven greenfield airports and expansion of some existing airports.
The MoU has Ankleshwar, Morbi, Rajpipla, Botad, Dwarka, Dhordo, Rajula, Dahod, Ambaji, Dholavira and Palitana to become greenfield airports, the state government said in an official announcement.
Most of these airports are at industrial centres, pilgrimage sites or places of historical importance, hence direct air connectivity is expected to increase traffic in these destinations.
The state government will also envision three additional greenfield airports one to be built in Vadnagar, the birthplace of Prime Minister Narendra Modi; Siddhpur is the constituency of Gujarat Civil Aviation Minister Balwant Singh Rajput; Also Kevadiya, home to statue of unity.
These new greenfield airports will connect tourist destinations like Dwarka, Ambaji and Palitana as well as tourist destinations like Dhordo and Dholavira.
The state government will develop nine more airports in brownfield in addition to the eleven greenfield airports. These include three state government airports at Mehsana, Amreli and Mandvi, along with six other AAI-run airports at Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Kandla, Vadodara, Keshod and Surat.
Virendra Shah, president of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Gujarat said “Construction of airports at strategic locations in Gujarat is the first step to improve air connectivity, Most of the proposed airports are at commercial, industrial, tourist or pilgrimage destinations. Tourists may not benefit much from direct connectivity within the state, but will find good attractions from Delhi, Mumbai or other major cities. To ensure that flights continue to operate, AAI, the state government and the airlines should evaluate the feasibility.”
The state government has given about 1,312 hectares of land for five of these airports: Dwarka (132.53 hectares), Dhordo (500 hectares), Rajula (80.94 hectares), Dahod (408.64 hectares) and Botad (190.34 hectares). Land has already been awarded for three additional airports: Rajpipla (47.24 hectares), Ankleshwar (80 hectares) and Morbi (90 hectares).
Under the agreement, the Gujarat government will provide other essential services including electricity and water to the airports. The Airports Authority of India will develop, operate and maintain, master planning and designing greenfield and brownfield airports in the state.
The state government and AAI will proceed with these projects only after examining the technical feasibility and availability of land, a statement said.
A coordination committee of ten members will be formed under the chairmanship of AAI, which will oversee the projects.
Gujarat currently has eleven operational airports: Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Kandla, Bhuj, Porbandar, Keshod and Mundra. The state government with AAI is building an international airport at Dholera, 80 km from Ahmedabad. Additionally, the state has two seaplane terminals: one in Ahmedabad on the Sabarmati riverfront and the other at Kevadiya.
The latest MoU will boost civil aviation infrastructure in Gujarat, thereby boosting tourism, regional connectivity, trade and commerce and also generating employment.