The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Airport II on radar

Calcutta, March 6: In five to seven years, Calcutta may have its second international airport, equipped with two runways and a capacity to handle 4.5 million passengers a year.

The state government will commission a Rs 1-crore, eight-month pre-feasibility study for the greenfield airport, which will come up in the Sonarpur-Baruipur belt on the city’s southern outskirts.

The government will provide the land but the airport will be set up by a private party, which will own the majority stake. The CPM, which is against privatisation of existing airports, has no problems with private participation in new airports.

The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, the commissioning agency for the project, will also hold a stake. The project is estimated to cost Rs 1,200 crore and will require around 4,000 acres.

The government is finalising the consultant for the feasibility study, the work order for which will be issued in March-end.

The new airport is likely to have at least 15 hangars, aerobridges leading to the lounge, and multiple passenger gates to allow multiple flights around the same time. Government officials were not available for comment as the model code of conduct is in place in the poll-bound state.

The consultants are expected to take into account the current capacity of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose international airport, the increase in passenger and cargo load in recent years and the projected growth of the traffic.

The NSC Bose airport is running to full capacity ' it handles over 75 domestic flights and 12 international flights every day. The secondary runway can’t be extended towards Jessore Road because there is a mosque on the premises. It can be extended towards Rajarhat, but even that will take a few years.

“Even after modernisation, the existing airport will be saturated in five to seven years and a second airport will be needed,” said Nilotpal Basu, Rajya Sabha member from the CPM and chairman of the parliamentary committee on transport.

“But unlike Hyderabad and Bangalore, we won’t close down the existing airport. The parameters for distribution of traffic between the two will be clearly spelt out,” Basu added.

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