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7 unused airports to reopen

Published : 17 Mar 2023 02:19 AM

The government has recently taken an initiative to reopen seven abadoned airports with a view to enhancing tourism and commercial activities, includingShamsernagar Airport in Moulvibazar.

Shamsernagar Airport in Moulvibazar once had the largest runway in Asia. It was also the airport with the second-longest runway in the world. But the airport has been lying unused for more than 50 years. 

Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority’s 2030 Action Plan outlines the plan to reconstruct the used airports that would greatly improve domestic air transports.

The airports are Ishwardi, Thakurgaon, Lalmonirhat, Bogra, Shamsernagar, Comilla, and Tejgaon airports. Moulvibazar is a tourist center that attrats hundreds and thousands of people every year, as well as considering the convenience of expatriates travelling to their home district the operational Shamsernaar Airport would greatly serve to their benefits.

Necessary work has already started in this regard. Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority's 2030 action plan lays out various reconstruction and renovation projects to make the airports operational again.

The previous name of Shamshernagar Airport was 'Dilzand Port'. After independence, the name was changed to 'Shamsernagar Airport'. This scenic airport is spread over 600 acres amidst the scenic beauty of tea gardens. The airport is connected to a 6000 feet long and 75 feet wide runway.

The airport was built before World War II. The purpose of its construction was to be used for military purposes. It is known that Shamsernagar Airport was one of the two big airports that the British built together in 1942 to occupy Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), and Indonesia during the Second World War.

After an accident in 1968, aircrafts ceased operations. Since then, this historic airport has been lying neglected for 55 years. Due to the indifference and lack of supervision of the concerned authorities, various monuments including the runway of the airport are gradually getting destroyed.

An air force unit was opened at this airport in 1975. Later, an Air Force Test School was established here and an annual training center was opened. Since then, the Air Force has been flying training planes and helicopters as needed. At present Air Force cadets are given various training there.

According to the P&DQ Department of Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority, there are currently 28 airports in different districts of the country. They were made by the British government. All airports have runway lengths between 3,000 and 3,500 feet.

The runways are currently unsuitable for passenger aircraft operations. The Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority has a target to increase the length of these runways from 6,000 to 8,000 feet gradually.

Besides, there is a target of increasing the PCN of the runway from 30 to 60 feet. Then it will be possible to start flight operations with small passenger aircraft of ATR or DAS-8 Q400 model.

When this airport is opened, there will be a fundamental change in the travel of domestic and foreign tourists. Moreover, there will be changes in business and trade.