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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 26:

Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) will provide 47 acre for Biju Patnaik International Airport runway expansion in the state capital.

In exchange of land, Odisha government will provide 47 acre to the agriculture university in Sakhigopal and Deras.

This was decided at a high level meeting chaired by Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi yesterday.

The runway of the airport will be expanded in Barmunda area for which 47 acre will be brought from OUAT, official sources said.

As the international flight operation is scheduled to begin from Bhubaneswar airport to Kuala Lumpur from April 26, the state government has decided to expand the runway of the airport facilitating more international aviation companies to start flight operation from the capital city, he added.

“There was plan for runway expansion since 2013. But, it could not be executed as there was no plan for Boeing flight operation and land was not easily available for the proposal. We had urged the state government for 64 acre land. As the land belongs to OUAT, the government was not able to hand it over to airport authority. With the consensus among the OUAT, General Administration (GA) department and the airport authority over handing over the land for runway expansion, we will start the project soon, said Bhubaneswar airport director R Mahalingam.

Currently, the flights are operated in the airport on 9,000-ft runway. Even, there is no problem with the bigger flights during landing at Biju Patnaik airport. Air India is also operating its Airbus A-321 in Bhubaneswar. As we focus on the cargo flight operation in future, there will be difficulties with the international flights for landing here. Around 10,000-ft long runway is required for bigger flights. Therefore, we are planning to expand the existing runway by 1000-ft so that Boeing flights can be operated from here for 250-280 passengers. The flight fare will be cheaper if the bigger flights will start operation from here, he added.

The OUAT has been asked to provide 47 acre for runway expansion of Bhubaneswar airport. The university authority will hand over the land to GA department. We will hand over the land to airport authority. In exchange of it, the OUAT will be provided 42 acre in Sakhigopal and 5-10 acre in Deras area, a senior official in the GA department said.