Exemplary efforts of AAI Jammu team responsible for successful completion of Jammu airport up gradation work

Jammu airport, one of the sensitive airports of our country was planned to be upgraded and expanded since a long time and finally the inauguration was done on 17th August, 2017. The whole idea of expanding the airport was conceived more than a decade back following which the Centre government sanctioned around Rs. 70 crore for the completion of the project.

The airport expansion was suggested owing to multiple factors like the experts advised that the standard length of the airstrip required for the safe landing of the aircrafts is about 9000 ft. whereas Jammu airport runway length is around 6770 ft. hence the airstrip expansion is must. In addition to that, the Terminal Building was decided to be modified from three sides for about 6500 m2 enlarging the total area to 14500 m2 for accommodating 720 passengers instead of present passenger capacity of 360.

People were too much in awe as the expansion would add to delight, fascination and convenience of passengers traveling through Jammu airport. The Airports Authority of India team and executing agency worked tirelessly to complete the project by the target date. The AAI Jammu team worked with dedication and enthusiasm under the leadership of Airport Director, D.K. Gautam delivering their best so far. The whole project would have been a dream if passengers wouldn't have cooperated despite minimum inconvenience caused during execution work.

Inaugural Ceremony

Finally, the project was inaugurated by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Union Minister for Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapathi Raju in the presence of Union ministers of state Dr. Jitendra Singh and Jayant Sinha and the AAI Jammu team was applauded for their best efforts. And now, the Jammu Airport is all set to offer a world-class experience to passengers with an expanded and modernized terminal. During the inaugural ceremony, Director Airports Authority of India (AAI) D K Gautam informed that the departure hall on the ground floor is ready and it has been thrown open for passengers.

Apart from this, three aerobridges are also expected to be delivered by the end of September which will be commissioned by mid- November. In an exclusive interview given to Jammu Links News, Director AAI, Jammu told that usually the order for equipment like aerobridges takes months because global tenders are issued for a batch of 10-12 bridges but AAI team Jammu consider themselves fortunate enough to be receiving the order of three aerobridges soon by the end of September. The team also incorporated the tensile fabric canopy from airport ticketing counters to the exit gate in the project which is almost ready in order to protect passengers from extreme weather conditions hence adding another important feature to the planned project.

An adjacent road was also there in the project which was meant to be developed for diverting the traffic and linking airport to the city. The road is ready and has also been thrown open for the general public i.e., the road runs from fourth Tawi Bridge to Satwari via Belicharana.

Multiple other pending projects are stuck due to delay in approvals. Like the issue of parking space in Jammu airport also depends on getting the approval to increase the Parking area so that more vehicles can be accommodated. The most important aspect of up-gradation process was airstrip which is yet to be done and the whole process is in limbo because the Army has to shift its base camp to a different place where all the required alternative structures have been developed. If shifting will be done, then only the extension of the airstrip will be possible. Until then AAI Jammu team is finishing up other minor detailing of the project.

Further, it was told that oftentimes, it is said that if Srinagar airport has night services, why can't Jammu airport can have night services? Responding to which he said, "Our team including the operators are well-prepared for the night services but for that purpose, few clearances are required which have not been received yet. Once, we receive the green signal from the higher authorities; we'll surely start night service as well."

The families residing near airport were supposed to be affected from the airport expansion so it was decided that they will be shifted to Rakh Raipur, a village on the left of Ranbir Canal. On this particular query, D K Gautam informed that the compensation has already been handed over to the state government for the people living in the vicinity but the rehabilitation has not been done yet. He said, "Once people will move to a different place, we will take on the last leg of the project i.e., to beef up the security of the airport."

He added that as of now, the security arrangements at Jammu airport are unparalleled when compared to any other airport in the country and owing to being one of the sensitive airports; multiple layers of security have been employed for protection.

Passengers have to pass through stricter security checks at Jammu airport in comparison to other airports where frisking is not mandatory but at Jammu airport, each and every passenger has to pass through frisking, baggage and hand baggage checking.

Regarding the speculations about establishing a new airport in Jammu with a longer runway, he said that the state government has already decided to submit a proposal to the Centre for developing an alternative airport in Jammu as informed by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh after chairing a high level meeting in Jammu. Further, officials have been told to search for suitable land for the project. The deputy commissioners of Jammu and Samba districts have been told to start the process for land identification required for developing double runway airport in Jammu.

According to Director, Airports Authority of India, Jammu, D K Gautam, approximately 650 acre land is required for developing a single runway and 1,100 acre is required for double-strip of runway. He further applauded the efforts of his team who have worked tirelessly under limited working hours to complete the whole up-gradation work within given time frame.



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