GUWAHATI, Aug 3 - The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has asked the State government to facilitate acquisition of around 75 acres of land for the extension of runways at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, which significantly would need relocation of two densely populated villages.
The AAI has asked the government to acquire the land that falls within the Kamrup (Metro) as well as Kamrup districts.
Both the AAI and the government, however, stopped short of making the names of the villages public, contending that this might trigger �unwarranted panic� among the inhabitants.
The AAI, meanwhile, has contended that it is only through the extension of the existing runways that the Guwahati airport could be turned into a world-class airport, facilitating takeoffs and landing of aircraft even in unfavourable weather conditions.
Sources informed The Assam Tribune that although the AAI has moved the authorities several times on this issue, the State revenue department (district administration) is yet to take a call on this as it would involve several issues, including fixing the compensation for the affected, as has been the standard case in other parts of the country where such acquisition had taken place.
�Not just the land, several trees in the vicinity will act as hindrance, which would have to be felled or trimmed,� sources said.
Sources in the AAI said that it is the State government which needs to acquire land for the airport expansion by paying adequate compensation to the land owners or by relocating them, whichever is convenient.
�Once the land is acquired, the existing runway will increase by several hundred metres. The runway extension would help installation of more tarmac lights that guide the pilot to establish visual contact with the ground while landing, especially in bad weather,� sources said.
�Once the runway is extended, we are confident of introducing CAT II and may be even CAT III operations in the Guwahati airport like in Kolkata and other major airports,� sources asserted.
The current terminal at the LGBI airport has a capacity to handle 1,250 passengers (per hour) at the peak hour. Around 75 flights operate from the airport daily.
The present saturated terminal handled 3.8 million passengers in 2016-17, showing an increase of 36 per cent over the previous year. The airport handles 796 movements per week, covering domestic and international destinations.
The integrated terminal building, which is being made at a cost of Rs 1,232 crore, is expected to be completed in another three years� time.