The Punjab cabinet approved international civil terminal for residents of Ludhiana at Halwara Indian Air Force (IAF) station Monday.
The Cabinet has given a go-ahead for signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Punjab government.
An international airport has been a long -pending demand of residents of Ludhiana with the city serving as business and industrial hub.
Currently, the lone Air India flight to Delhi operates four days a week from Sahnewal domestic airport.
Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said the civil terminal would be developed jointly by AAI and government of Punjab through a Joint Venture Company (JVC) which will be constituted for the purpose. While AAI would have majority stake of 51%, the government of Punjab through Greater Ludhiana Development Authority (GLADA), will have 49% stake in the project.
The state government would provide 135. 54 acres of land free of cost to the JVC by way of its equity in the project. The capital expenditure on development of the new airport would be borne by AAI, whereas the expenditure on the operation, maintenance and repairs would be taken care of by the JVC.
Bittu stated that the first phase of the project, which will include development of a new international civil enclave over an area of 135.54 acres for full-fledged operations up to Code-4C type aircraft, is likely to be completed within three years.
Further, claiming credit for the project, he said that the matter was first taken up by him and Captain Amarinder Singh with central government. He added that some clearances are still pending with central government and are being worked out.
Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had announced that flights will be started from Halwara airforce base as it has been a long-pending demand of people of Ludhiana, especially industrialists and businessmen to have an international airport.
Currently, a domestic airport at Sahnewal, which also functions under AAI, is operational for residents of Ludhiana with the lone Air India flight to Delhi under Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme of the central government. But with Sahnewal airport lacking basic landing facilities leading to poor visibility especially in winters, the lone flight to Delhi also gets cancelled multiple times. The short length of runway is also unsuitable for larger aircraft.
In October, deputy commissioner Ludhiana Pardeep Aggarwal had said Ministry of Defence, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and government of Punjab have been working in coordination to start flights from Halwara and No Objection Certificates (NOCs) are being procured from several departments concerned.