Shimla : A preliminary party report by engineers of the Airport Authority(AAI) says it is feasible to build a much needed large airport near Shimla in Himachal Pradesh even though it may cost a lot of money to cut down the hills to build the runway .
“A team of engineers of the AAI who recently surveyed the proposed site near Kiari Bungalow (Kiarighat) and Kandaghat on the Shimla-Kalka highway some 20 km from here have submitted their report saying it is feasible to build an airport here for large aircraft to land but details need to be worked out ,” Mohan Chauhan , Director Tourism & Civil Aviation said .
“Now a detailed report will be prepared on the proposed site by airport building experts of the AAI who will look into the technical , safety and economic aspects in far more detail , ” Chauhan told Sun Post .
Once this report is completed will the exact cost of the project be known .
Shimla’s existing airport at Jubbarhatti has a 3900 feet long runway and only small passenger aircraft can land here. Also there is very little scope of increasing its length.
And hence there is a need for a larger airport where large aircraft can land in all weather conditions connecting Shimla a popular tourist destination among other resorts like Kufri , Chail , Narkanda and even the scenic tribal Kinnaur region .
Officials say over 1100 bighas of land is available at Kiari Bungalow’s proposed airport site and most of this is government land, officials say .
The AAI experts team also recently visited the Kullu valley and surveyed the existing Kullu airport site and explored possibilities of extending the runway here . Currently the Kullu airport is only 4100 feet long .
There are two ways to extend the runway here , either by diverting the Beas river or by building a bridge over the river.
There are currently only three small airports in Himachal Pradesh at Shimla , Kullu and Kangra .
The state government has been exploring possibilities of bigger airports so that like Srinagar’s airport in neighbouring Jammu & Kashmir where much bigger aircraft can land. so that Himachal can further boost high-end tourism .