Ever since he became the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has been crisscrossing the country for a slew of airport inaugurations. As part of the government’s aim to improve connectivity to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, PM Modi has inaugurated five airports in the last seven years. Moreover, he has also unveiled three terminals to major existing airports in a bid to create a future-ready aviation sector.
On Tuesday, PM Modi inaugurated the 657-acre Deoghar airport, the second airport in Jharkhand, constructed at a cost of Rs 401 crore. Modi had laid the foundation stone of Deoghar airport, which has a 2,500-metre-long runway, on May 25, 2018. The airport will be linked to Ranchi, Patna and Delhi in the days to come.
The Deoghar airport is the fifth PM Modi has inaugurated since 2018. The other airports are Kushinagar International Airport, Tezu Airport, Pakyong Airport and Jharsuguda Airport.
Last year, PM Modi also laid the foundation stone for the Jewar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh. The Noida International Airport (NIA), located 72 km from Delhi’s existing IGI Airport and 40 km from Noida, will be the largest in Asia, the government has claimed.
Besides, PM Modi has also inaugurated state-of-the-art terminals at Chandigarh, Vadodara and Maharaja Bir Bikram (Tripura) airports in 2015, 2016 and 2022 respectively.
Kushinagar International Airport
In October 2021, PM Modi inaugurated the Kushinagar International Airport, the third international airport in Uttar Pradesh. UP also has two international airports in Lucknow and Varanasi. So far, the Kushinagar airport has handled 210 flights and 11,155 passengers. Flights for Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Jammu have already started.
An upgraded and retrofitted airport at Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh was inaugurated by PM Modi on February 9, 2019. The airport, built at a cost of Rs 125 crore, connects Guwahati, Jorhat and Hollongi. According to 2021-22 data, the Tezu airport has handled 274 flights and 6,770 passengers.
On the same day, PM Modi also laid the foundation stone for construction of a greenfield airport at Hollongi near Itanagar. People of Itanagar now have to travel 80 km to reach the airport at Lilabari in Assam.
Putting Sikkim on the aviation map of the country, PM Modi unveiled the Pakyong Airport on September 24, 2018. The foundation stone of the airport, around 33 km from state capital Gangtok, was laid in 2009. Located around 60 km from the Indo-China border, the scenic airport is spread across over 201 acres and is located on the top of a hill at 4,500 feet above sea level. As per 2021-22 data, the Pakyong Airport has handled 754 flights and 44,740 passengers so far.
The Jharsuguda airport in Odisha became the second airport in the state after PM Modi threw it open for commercial flights on September 22, 2018. PM Modi said the airport would act as a lifeline in western region of Odisha and attract investors to the mineral-rich region besides strengthening connectivity for neighbouring Raipur and Ranchi.
The airport, named after freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai, has handled 4,092 flights and 2,63,277 passengers, as per 2021-22 data.
(With inputs from Amod Prakash Singh)