| Jorhat Airport. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Feb. 7: Jorhat Airport will be closed for two months starting March 1 as the authorities are planning to upgrade the facilities at one of the oldest airports in Upper Assam.
This is the second time in two years that the airport, which is under the control of the Indian Air Force, will remain closed for passenger aircraft for nearly 60 days.
The first time was in March-April 2012 because of maintenance of the runway. In October 2011, the Air Force lengthened the runway and taxi track.
A source said the night landing facility would help to get more air services to and from Jorhat.
At present, only JetKonnect operates flights between Jorhat and Calcutta and Guwahati. “The Air Force is installing the night-vision facility and this would be placed at ground level and covered with hard material on which an aircraft could land. Lights would also be put up on the side of the runway,” he added.
The source said this was part of the air force’s modernisation of airfield infrastructure programme.
The source, however, refused to reveal any further modernisation plans hinting that the runway might be extended further.
In the mean time, the Airport Authority of India has completed the expansion of the apron (an area with a hard surface at an airport, where aircraft are turned around and loaded) to accommodate five aircraft now.
An airport authority source here said trial runs were on after the completion. The existing apron of 91 metres by 61 metres had been extended to 238 by 61 metres and would allow the accommodation of three Airbuses 321 and two ATR aircraft.
Two additional taxi links were constructed.
A proposal was sent to the Centre for the construction of a new 5,000 square metre terminus building and upgrade other facilities.
The proposed terminus will have modern facilities such ATM, snack bars, shops, bookstalls and restaurants.
It was hoped that Air India which had withdrawn its flights since January 2013 would again begin its operations here.
“We have heard that Air India has bought eight new aircraft and there is a likelihood that a couple of them would fly between Jorhat and Calcutta. The revamp of the runway and other facilities are imperative if we want all the players to render their service to this part,” he said.