Bihar looks for new airport

Bihar looks for new airport

 The demand for an new airport with a lengthier airstrip has gained momentum after passengers of a GoAir flight had a close shave following another bird hit at Patna’s Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport.

The state government has written to the Civil Aviation Ministry to send a team of top officials, including those from the Airport Authority of India, to hold a meeting on an new airport here.

Bihar’s chief secretary has requested the civil aviation secretary to “send officials to hold discussions and visit prospective sites for development of an new airport for Patna.” The move follows Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s recent announcement that a new airport could come up near Rajgir, around 120 km from the State Capital.

It may be mentioned here that two days back, around 148 passengers on board a Delhi-bound GoAir flight (G8 144) had a narrow escape when the aircraft suffered a bird-hit while preparing for take-off on the runway.

Though the aerodrome was named Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport a decade back, Patna still has one of the shortest runways in the country. Officially, the total length of the runway is 6,409 feet, but only 5,061 feet is in use.

The rich shrubbery on the eastern end and the railway cabin with its overhead traction lines on the south-western part have reduced the effective runway length by 439 feet and 909 feet respectively.

It may be recalled that on July 17, 2000, an Alliance Air flight CD 7412 carrying 58 persons from Kolkata to Patna enroute Delhi had crashed in the densely populated area of Gardanibagh here, thereby killing all the passengers on board.

The aircraft, while landing at Patna, missed the runway while taking a 360 degree turn without maintaining the right altitude and hit the residential quarters.