The upgraded Belagavi airport with extended runway and a new terminal building with a capacity to accommodate over 300 passengers was inaugurated by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju along with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah here today.
Modernised with an investment of Rs 120 crore in over two and a half years, the airport is expected to add more flights from the current two daily services being operated by SpiceJet to Bengaluru and Mumbai, airport director Rajesh Kumar Maurya told PTI.
"SpiceJet has agreed to add one more flight, a daily service to Chennai, from next month. Besides, Air India's regional arm Alliance Air has informed us that it will be adding a flight service from our airport in the coming winter schedule. We also expect some more domestic operators to launch flights from here in the months to come," Maurya said.
The upgradation work was taken up in February 2015. In involved extension of the runway, construction of a new isolation bay, taxiway, apron for three A-320 aircraft and new ATC tower among other things, he said.
The runway has been extended by 475 meters to 2,330 meters, which would allow it to handle Airbus A320. SpiceJet currently operates it services from Belagavi airport with Bombardier Q400s.
Besides, the new terminal building, spread over 3,600 sq meters, has been designed to handle 320 passengers against the earlier capacity of 180, Maurya said.
The new terminal building also has two baggage conveyor belts and six CUTE (common-use terminal equipment) -enabled check-in counters against the four earlier.
The security hold area has also been increased significantly, he said adding, "We have also constructed a new 22.5 meter ATC tower with all new equipment."
While inaugurating the upgraded airport, Raju said, "Belagavi is an important city in Karnataka. With the upgraded airport, the city is all set to cater to more air passengers from the region. Since Belagavi is among the first 20 cities being transformed into Smart Cities, this was a much needed development."
The airport handled close to one lakh passengers in the previous fiscal.