Issued in Public Interest, Fly to Patna at Your Own Risk!
The non-compliance of certain norms may lead to the closure of the Patna International Airport. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
The non-compliance of certain norms may lead to the closure of the Patna International Airport. (Photo: The Quint)

Issued in Public Interest, Fly to Patna at Your Own Risk!

All those who frequently fly to Patna may not be aware that the airport, declared as one of the 11 most dangerous airports in the country, is operating without a valid licence for the last couple of years.

The shocking disclosure came to the fore when Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma, chided the Bihar government for not making land available for the expansion of the runway, which is so short that wide-bodied aircraft like Airbus 300 and Airbus 321, which require a 9,000-feet long runway, can’t land there.

It was in this context that the minister conceded that the airport, known as the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport, was not a licenced one.

Aviation sources say that way back in 2012, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), had held back the operating licence of Patna airport because of obstructions on aircraft approach funnel.

DGCA had held back the licence of the Patna airport in 2012. (Representational image: iStockphoto)
DGCA had held back the licence of the Patna airport in 2012. (Representational image: iStockphoto)

Snapshotclose

Patna Airport Faces Risk of Shutdown

  • Wide-bodied aircraft like the Airbus 300 and Airbus 321, which require a 9,000-feet long runway, can’t land at the Patna airport.
  • Patna International Airport does not comply with minimum runway length requirements for planes.
  • Airport Authority of India found that the Patna airport had 101 obstructions on either side of the tarmac.
  • DGCA held back the decision to issue a licence to Patna airport as it does not fulfil the requisite safety parameters.
AAI found that the Patna airport was not fit for landing. (Representational image: iStockphoto)
AAI found that the Patna airport was not fit for landing. (Representational image: iStockphoto)

Patna Airport Declared Unfit for Operation

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) found that Patna airport had 101 obstructions on either side of the tarmac.The obstructions included 3,700 trees around the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, high-rise residential buildings and mobile towers among many.

The AAI has declared the airport unfit for operation and has given a deadline to the Bihar Government to remove the obstacles around the tarmac or face closure.

The DGCA has held back the decision to issue a licence to Patna airport as it does not fulfil the requisite safety parameters.

The AAI has asked the Bihar government to make the necessary changes in the Patna airport. (Representational image: iStockphoto)
The AAI has asked the Bihar government to make the necessary changes in the Patna airport. (Representational image: iStockphoto)

Risk to the Lives of Passengers

After pilots complained to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) about the short runway length, a proposal was given to the Bihar Government either to allot land to develop a new airport or shift the existing one to Bihta, around 30 km from Patna.

The Patna district administration is apparently averse to the idea of shifting the base to Bihta as it is a defence site and IAF aircraft take off from there frequently. It instead proposed that the airport be shifted to Nalanda. However, the Civil Aviation Ministry was against this idea as the journey time from Patna to Nalanda would be more than the travel time between Patna to Delhi (1.40 hours).

As the impasse continues, all those travelling to Patna (nearly 2800 passengers per day) face great risk to their lives as most of the aircraft land here using emergency brakes due to the short runway.

(The writer is a Bihar-based journalist)

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