According to news reports, Agartala and Imphal airports will be upgraded to international levels to facilitate travel for high-level international business delegations and political VVIPs, said highly placed sources in the Airport Authority of India yesterday.
“The plan aims at expanding and improving the terminal buildings, air traffic control towers, runway and other infrastructure,” an airport authority source said.
With this project, regional infrastructure development as part of the Centre’s Look East Policyis all set to gain momentum.
The official said over Rs 160 crore had been earmarked for expenses aimed at developing Imphal and Agartala airports. Work has already commenced at both the airports.
“Modern air traffic control towers are being put up at both the airports at a cost of Rs 10 crore each,” the official said.
He said at the moment Guwahati airport is the lone international airport in the Northeast.
“Since 2010, Druk Airlines of Bhutan has been operating flights from Guwahati in the Bangkok-Guwahati-Paro (Bhutan) route once a week,” the official said.
The official said AAI chairman V.P. Agarwal and civil aviation secretary K.N. Shrivastava would hold a high-level meeting in Agartala on June 6 on the upgrade of Agartala airport.
The central commissioner of transport, Kishore Ambuly, said the meeting would also discuss the restoration of two abandoned airports at Khowai and Kailasahar in Tripura.
“We have been demanding the restoration of the airports at Khowai and Kailasahar. We also asked for the upgrade of Agartala airport so that flights can be operated between Agartala and Dhaka on a regular basis in the interest of increased trade and commerce between the two countries. It seems now that the Centre, acting through AAI, will accept and implement our demands for creation of more infrastructure,” said Ambuly.
He added that the state government also wants larger number of flights to operate between Tripura and other the northeastern states.