Air terminal boost plan for Bagdogra airport
The Airports Authority of India has taken the task of expanding a portion of its existing terminal and realign some of the facilities to make optimum use of its current space to improve passengers’ convenience at the Bagdogra airport.
The AAI is yet to get additional land from the state government to build a new and larger terminal to accommodate more passengers.
In Bagdogra, there has been an exponential rise in the number of passengers during the past few fiscals and the current year. This has made AAI seek additional land from the Bengal government for the construction of a new building.
“We have initiated the work to expand the security hold area to provide room for more passengers. As of now, there is space for around 400 passengers. As per the plan, we are expanding and adding an additional area of 822 square metres, which would create space for another 200 passengers. It would be more convenient for the passengers and us,” said Subramani P, airport director, Bagdogra.
At present, around 32 flights, including the sole international flight of Druk Air that connects Paro with Bangkok via Bagdogra, operate out of the airport every day.
The airport director also mentioned that the counters of airline companies on the ground floor of the terminal would also be realigned.
“There are 15 counters in total, which are spread over the building in an uneven manner. We will realign the counters in a uniform way. This would create some space and help passengers. Also, the reserve lounge (for VIPs) will be refurbished. Our plan is to finish all these works by April,” he added.
Every day, due to dearth of space in the terminal, it gets crammed with people, particularly during the afternoon hours, when most of the flights arrive and leave Bagdogra.
It has been over three years now that AAI has sought additional land of over 100 acres from the state. The state had also initiated the process by speaking with owners of some of the tea gardens which are contiguous to the airport to get the land. However, the process came to an abrupt halt as the state asked AAI to pay compensation for the land that would be acquired from the tea gardens. AAI officials clarified that they cannot pay it and the state will have to bear the expenditure.
“It is evident that Bagdogra airport needs immediate expansion. Talks are still going on with the government,” said a source in AAI.