The Airport Authority of India (AAI) is renovating Surat International Airport to meet the enormous rise in passenger traffic at the airport. The renovation includes building a new terminal capable of handling up to 1200 domestic and 600 international passengers. This will make the airport’s annual passenger capacity 2.6 million.
The terminal will have 20 check-in counters, five aerobridges, five conveyor belts, inline baggage handling system and car parking facilities for 475 vehicles. Authorities also plan to extend the existing terminal from 8,474 sqm to 25,520 sqm. In addition, the new development project intends to expand the apron from five parking bays to 23 Parking bays. AAI will also construct a parallel taxi track of 2905 mX30 m.
The modernized terminal will be 4-Star GRIHA rated energy-efficient building and the interiors will reflect the themes of art and culture of Gujarat.
The development works have already commenced and the project is expected to complete by December 2021. The airport underwent major renovation work in 2015, which proceeded for three years. The renovation brought tremendous growth to the airport, witnessing more than double the footfall in passenger traffic in a year-on-year comparison.
Surat airport had witnessed a 600 percent growth in passenger traffic between 2016-17 and 2018-19. Located on Magdalla - Dumas Road towards the famous Dumas Beach, the airport is 20 km away from the city. It serves the air travel needs of nearly 6 million people in Surat and around 12 million people of South Gujarat region. The new expansion is expected to give impetus growth to Surat.
Fire at ONGC raises safety concerns at Surat airport
The recent blast at ONGC’s Hazira plant has raised concerns over the safety of flight operations in Surat airport. The gas pipeline of ONGC where the explosion occurred passes 250 meters away from the runway. ONGC conducted a survey in December 2019 regarding the removal of these pipelines near the airport, but the company has not submitted any reports to the AAI.
Wildlife intrusions at airport
Surat airport is also known for incidences of wildlife intrusion. Airports Authority of India has asked the airport authorities to put measures in place to curb such intrusions. In December 2019, officers recovered the bodies of two wild foxes on the airport runways. The Incidence caused the delay of three flights. Any further lapses in future will entail administrative actions, according to AAI.