Published:  12:29 AM, 12 May 2019

Demand for reopening of Ishwardi Airport roared

Demand for reopening of Ishwardi Airport roared Ishwardi Airport, waiting for re-opening.

Some private airlines show interest in operating on Dhaka-Ishwardi route due to the demand of passengers. But it is not possible due to the closure of the Ishwardi airport for the last five years.

On May 1, a senior US-bangla Air Line officer of the US had gone to verify the feasibility of aviation movement at Ishwardi Airport. The official, interested in anonimity, said, Ishwardi has progressed a lot in the continuation of development. Passengers have huge interest in aviation. 80 percent of the air conditioned airport is ready to fly. There is a need for just 20 percent reforms. If the civil aviation authorities undertake other renovations then the US Airplane will start flight to Ishwardi.

In fact, the Rooppur nuclear power project, the Ishwardi EPZ, location of some important institutions including Pabna sugar mill, Bangladesh sugarcan research institute, pulse research institute, Bangladesh railway's western headquarter, Paksey made Ishwardi an important hub for business and  that's why foreigners ha travelling has also increased a lot.

Specially for Rooppur nuclear power project, Ishwardi EPZ and other institutions, currently almost three thousand foreign workers are living there. Moreover there are also many local passengers to travel. But due to the closure of the airport for five years, people have no opportunity to travel through this Air port.

Due to traffic congestion, it usually takes 7 to 10 hours to travel from Dhaka to Ishwardi on highway. Because of this, the foreign engineers, technicians from other countries, including Russia, are using helicopters for travelling. Train is an alternative route from Dhaka to Ishwardi. But getting tickets of train is very difficult. Former land minister, language soldier and freedom fighter Shamsur Rahman Sharif MP raised a question about the various aspects of the need for the re-opening of the Ishwardi Airport in the Parliament on February 8.

State Minister for Biman and Tourism Mahbub Ali said, 299.174 acres of land from 436.65 acres are being acquired from Ishwardi Airport for using military firms. After the transfer of the land from the civil aviation authorities, the government has been planning to re-open the airport by reforming and improving. However, after the completion of land transfer process and development activities, the possible of re-opening Ishwardi Airport is dimmed in the current fiscal year, he said.

Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Promotion Authority (BIDA), on April 1, sent a letter to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. He sought airport facilities in five districts of the country to invest in the development. In order to build two new airports, Ishwardi, Thakurgaon and Sylhet's Shamshernagar Airport have been asked to restart. Ishwardi Airport Manager Abdur Rashid said that it is possible to arrange for the aircraft to get up and down at the present land.

The length of the runway is 4 thousand 700 feet and width 75 feet which United Air can use for their DAS-8 aircraft on this route. However, for the aircraft that operates on an internal route, there is some shortage of runway length and width. If airlines appeal to the Civil Aviation Authority, they will be able to arrange air transit after a month of reform and development. Although there is no fire extinguisher, there are other arrangements for the flight management at Ishwardi Airport. We are ready for the flight management.

It is to be noted that the airport was closed in 1987 due to various reasons including losses. The airport was re-opened in 1994 after renovations at the  cost of Tk 4 crore. After nearly three years of continuation of the airline movement, in 1996, the airline was stopped in the second phase. Ishwardi Airport was started again in October 2013. But on May 29, 2014, the authorities closed the airport in the third phase of seven months.

---Ishwardi, Pabna

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