Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday stated the Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh has got the necessary clearances from aviation regulator DGCA to operate international flights from the facility. The Union Cabinet had in June last yr approved the Kushinagar airport’s status as an international facility, stating it will offer improved connectivity to the important Buddhist pilgrimage site. Once this airport begins operating international flights, it would become the third functional international facility within the state.
“Kushinagar to become 3rd licensed international airport of UP. Will boost tourism in the area and facilitate travel on Buddhist circuit by providing direct aviation connectivity to the city where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana,” Puri stated in a tweet on Tuesday. At present, two international airports — Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Lucknow and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Varanasi — are operational within the state while another one is coming up at Jewar in Gautambudh Nagar.
Kushinagar is the mid-point of the Buddhist circuit. It has pilgrimage sites in Lumbini, Shravasti, Kapilvastu nearby it. A little farther, it has sites in Sarnath and Gaya, the government had stated at the time of granting the international status to the airport. The Central government had also stated that around 200-300 devotees from Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Myanmar, amongst others, come to offer prayers at Kushinagar on any given day.
In Lucknow, a UP government spokesperson in a statement stated that Kushinagar is a really ancient and important historical site, where Mahaparinirvana of Mahatma Buddha took place. Very large and beautiful Buddhist temples built by many nations are positioned right here, where millions of domestic and foreign tourists from all over the world come to go. He also stated 1644 meters x 23 meters of the runway-sized airstrip was constructed on 101 acres of land by the state government in Kasya, Kushinagar district in the past.
The current state government sanctioned an amount of Rs 199.42 crore for the construction of the airport and got the development works done at a rapid pace. The spokesman further stated that under the MoU signed between the Airports Authority of India and the state government on October 04, 2019, the Kushinagar airport was transferred to the Airports Authority of India for operation. Kushinagar Airport is presently selected under the RCS scheme. As per the standards, the work related to Kushinagar airport, such as runway, approach road, peripheral road, drainage work, boundary wall, ATC tower, fire station, underground tank, etc. have been completed and the license was utilized by the state government.
The spokesman stated that an aerodrome license has been granted by the Government of India on February 22, 2021, for the operation of air services from Kushinagar International Airport. The spokesperson stated that the first flight from Bareilly Airport is beginning on March 8, 2021. The operation of the airport will create many employment opportunities in the eastern area of the state and can ensure the social and economic growth of the entire area.