With the inauguration of hi tech and state of the art Chandigarh international Airport at Mohali last year, and the feasibility studies being carried out for more airports, Punjab has emerged as a state with the potential of becoming one of the most air-connected states in the country. Though at present besides Chandigarh airport it has only Amritsar aiport which is operating domestic and international flights, the land locked state with only about 1.3% of the geographical area of the country, has a big scope to cater to national and international flights by developing more airports all over the state.
In fact following the union government’s announcement that it proposes to set up 51 new low-cost airports in tier-II and tier-III cities, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already begun the preliminary work and has included Ferozepur, Jalandhar and Ludhiana in the agenda from Punjab in the initial list. A four-member AAI team has already visited Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Patiala to study the economic and technical feasibility of constructing low-cost domestic airports at these places and prepared a detailed report.
Modalities were also being worked out for assessing the feasibility of international airport at Macchiwara, which was to be developed by Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited in association with Changi International Airport of Singapore.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has earlier announced that the state has a road map of having an airport at a distance of every 100 km. The government is also keen to have domestic flights operational from the Bathinda airbase, according to him.
The state government has also sent a proposal for allowing civil flights at the Adampur defence airport near Jalandhar. In response the Ministry of Civil Aviation has made the announcement for airports at Ferozepur, Ludhiana and later Patiala.
At present, the Guru Ram Das International Airport in Amritsar operates both domestic and international flights, the recently made operational Chandigarh airport, which currently operates domestic flights, has been upgraded to develop into an international airport. The flights for international destinations are set to begin from here soon.
Operational airports in Punjab are well equipped and have all the basic amenities besides a fool proof security.
Ludhiana has a small airport at Sahnewal, but it has been rendered non-operational and is awaiting upgradation. Jalandhar has an airbase in Adampur, which can be used to build a civil terminal. Patiala already has a flying academy with an operational runway, which can be handy, if it were to be developed as airport. Similarly Ferozepur too has an airstrip at Fattuwala village, which was made during 1971 war with Pakistan when it was built.
If feasibility works out there is a possibility that Punjab may emerge as a leading state in the country for air connectivity with maximum number of domestic and international airports in country.