Land acquisition for Saidpur Airport to upgrade it as an international airport has gained a new pace as the hurdles to acquiring the land have finally gone.
Once all the necessary work is done, it will play a vital the role in increasing regional connectivity, said officials.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Secretary Md Mokammel Hossain told Bangladesh Post, "We are very optimistic that this airport will play a major role once it is upgraded to international standard. This airport has already been handling similar capacity of domestic passenger after Chattogram airport. Not only for domestic operation but also the airport will be a main gateway for neighbouring countries Nepal, Bhutan and India."
Around 1,000 passengers from eight districts of Rangpur division are travelling to Dhaka every day through Syedpur Airport. Every day 16 passenger planes both from Bangladesh Biman and other private airlines are flying on Dhaka-Saidpur-Dhaka route.
However, to bring more domestic destinations through air connectivity, the authorities concerned are now connecting Chattogram and Cox's Bazar with Saidpur through airways. Locals said, if air fare is kept within the reach of general people, more flights could be operated in the coming days.
According to the airport information, it takes 40 minutes to 50 minutes to travel by air from this airport to Kathmandu, Bhutan and several states of India.
Besides, with the launch of cargo service, it is possible to take vegetables and fruits from the northern districts to Nepal and Bhutan in a short time. As a result, on one hand, it is possible to earn foreign currency, on the other hand, the vegetable growers of Rangpur division will benefit financially.
Meanwhile, transportation of shrimp and other agri products from Cox’s Bazar to northwestern districts of the country are likely to increase from where export of these items will boost rapidly.
The secretary in this regard said, “As we have vision to make the country as an aviation hub, Saidpur airport will emerge as an international airport. As per plans we are advancing towards our goal.”
Director of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport AHM Touhid UL Ahsan told Bangladesh Post, "To upgrade an airport to international one a good number of work including runway expansion, securities, passenger handling capacity, luggage handling capacity, and other things need to be upgraded. But process has already been started there."
Saidpur Airport Manager Suplob Ghos told Bangladesh Post, "A good number of development work is continuing centring the airport. Land allocation, airport building expansion, luggage handling capacities increasing, and others are continuing. With the development of Covid-19 situation, the development work has got a new pace."
Sources said that at present the area of land available at Saidpur Airport is 336 acres. This includes a terminal building, 6,800 feet of runway and other infrastructure. After the land acquisition, the runway will be expanded to 12,000 feet, which will be the largest runway in the country.