Airport takes big leap...

The passenger flow at the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport is following a bumper growth trajectory amid the government's efforts for its expansion as well as simultaneous operation of flights from the Bihta airbase.

By Piyush Kumar Tripathi
  • Published 6.05.16
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The passenger flow at the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport is following a bumper growth trajectory amid the government's efforts for its expansion as well as simultaneous operation of flights from the Bihta airbase.

Patna airport registered 32.4 per cent growth in passenger flow in 2015-16 in comparison to 14.5 per cent in the previous fiscal (2014-15).

The state's other airport in Gaya airport has registered 40.5 per cent growth in passenger flow.

According to Airports Authority of India (AAI) figures for annual passenger and aircraft traffic for the year 2015-16 released by its headquarters earlier this week, Patna airport handled 15,84,013 passengers in the last fiscal (2015-16). Going by the comparative growth figures of other main airports of the country, Patna is at 16th position as far as percentage-point increase in passengers flow over the previous year is concerned.

The airport had witnessed 4 per cent growth in terms of passenger flow in 2013-14 but registered negative growth in the 2012-13 fiscal.

That was the only year in the past eight years when the airport saw negative growth. (See graphic)

Officials at Patna airport attributed the rise in passenger traffic to increase in the number of flights.

"The number of flights operating from Patna airport was around 10 in 2012-13, which has now increased to 20. For instance, IndiGo airlines has increased the number of its flights from three in 2012-13 to 10 as of today. Similarly, GoAir has increased its number of flights from the airport from three in 2012-13 to five at present," said a senior AAI official at Patna airport.

Private airlines claimed that the drop in airfares is another reason for rise in passenger flow at the airport.

"Ticket prices for flights operating on the Patna-Delhi route have gone down from Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 as observed in 2011-12 to Rs 3,000-Rs 5,000 now. Similarly, for flights operating on the Patna-Mumbai route, ticket prices have gone down from Rs 9000-Rs 10,000 to Rs 5,000-Rs 6,500 as on today. The drop in airfare is basically due to rise in the number of flights operating from the city airport, which in turn is leading to increase in passenger flow," said an executive of a private airline at Patna airport.

Expansion

The AAI and the state government are busy finalising the modalities for expansion of the Patna airport terminal building as well as commencing civil flight operations from the Bihta airbase.

"The state government is quite positive for expansion of Patna airport terminal building. Around 5 acres of land is being sought by the AAI at the state hangar for expansion of the terminal building. Though we don't have any issues in providing them the required land but they have been asked to submit a detailed plan with regard to positioning of hangars of the state civil aviation directorate, the Bihar Flying Club, and the Indian Oil depot," said a senior official in the state civil aviation directorate.

Patna airport officials claimed that all hangars could be repositioned to stand in a straight line, so as to leave some land for extension of the terminal building on its northern side.

The AAI is also going to make a presentation on the final proposal for extension of the Patna airport terminal building and civil flight operations from Bihta airbase to minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma.

"The response from the state government is quite good at present and we also want to ensure full preparedness from our end to successfully execute the plans for the airport," said Rajendra Singh Lahauria, director, Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport.

Bihta land

Patna district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agrawal has submitted a report for land acquisition at Bihta airbase.

"We have suggested three options for development of civil terminal building at the airbase," Agrawal had told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

Earlier, senior officials from the Union civil aviation ministry, including secretary R.N. Choubey, held a meeting with Bihar chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and several other senior bureaucrats at Patna airport on April 7.

Decisions were taken to explore the option of starting commercial flight operations from Bihta airbase and extend the terminal building at the existing Patna airport.