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Plan for Kuakata airport to boost tourism

Published : 19 Feb 2024 10:39 PM

The government is taking an initiative to construct an airport at Kuakata in Patuakhali district.

The project aims to draw foreign tourists besides local ones to Kuakata’s panoramic beaches and picturesque landmarks. 

The Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry has already written to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) seeking information on determining the location of the airport. The letter was sent in November last year. 

A delegation of six members of CAAB, made a preliminary visit to identify the location of the airport in ‘Payra Port and Kuakata Tourism Based Project Area’. On Saturday, they visited the Chakamiya area of Kalapara upazila of Patuakhali and determined the possible location.

According to delegation team members, an airport can be built on 3000 acres of land in this area. So, the initial inspection for the purpose has been done.

The delegation committee convener, CAAB director (admin) Md Jahirul Islam told Bangladesh Post that before visiting Kuakata, they had information that there was a river in the project area. Now, the place that they visited is stretched both on Kalapara and Barguna and there are no big water bodies. 

Local people are also keen to have an airport there. 

‘As an airport needs big investment and other issues are involved in it, we are now considering the geographical issues where the Urban Development Directorate is also working with us. The most important part is the runway which needs to ensure international standard wind direction, overall we are working at the initial stage,’ he added. 

However, he hoped that as the airport area is close to Payra Port, it will contribute to economic development also. 

Following the on-site inspection, the team members will provide recommendations regarding the construction of the airport on the selected land, he added further. 

Kuakata, a sanctuary of breathtaking natural beauty, will be transformed into a contemporary tourism hub as part of efforts to further develop the nation's tourism sector. Roads have been developed. After bridges and highways, initiatives are currently being taken to assign land for the construction of an airport.

CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman told Bangladesh Post, “Enhancing air connectivity with Kuakata will help attract foreign tourists. The airport can be constructed in the quickest possible time if the funds are available.” 

Regarding the Kuakata Airport land inspection, an official of CAAB told the media that land has been identified in Kuakata for the construction of the airport. After the inspection, a letter will be sent to the Civil Aviation Ministry seeking allocation of funds for land acquisition as per the opinion and suggestions of the team. If everything is alright, construction work can be started soon. 

Experts within the industry have noted a considerable rise in people travelling to Payra Port following the completion of the Padma Bridge, primarily driven by economic factors. Despite the existence of well-developed road connectivity, the absence of an air transport system is evident. The building of an airport is anticipated to lead to a surge in the number of foreign tourists to the region.