Kushinagar, Oct 20 (UNI) The much-awaited Kushinagar International Airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Wednesday.
Located strategically near Buddhist sites in both UP and Bihar, the Kushinagar International Airport will serve as a major conduit in the Buddhist circuit, providing direct air connectivity with South Asian countries and facilitating seamless travel to the entire Buddhist circuit in India.
Delhi-Kushinagar direct flights, operational for four days a week, will commence from November 26 while direct flights between Mumbai and Kushinagar from December 18, announced Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
This will be the ninth airport of the state and third international airport.
The airport will boost tourism in Purvanchal region while paving way for products of the region to get global recognition.
The inflow of international tourists as well as outbound tourism are expected to increase by 15 to 20 percent in the coming years due to the opening of the airport. The airport will also create massive job opportunities in tourism and hospitality sectors.
Built at the cost of Rs 260 crore, the Kushinagar International Airport is spread over an area of 590 acres and boasts of world-class facilities. It also has the state’s largest runway with a length of 3,200 metres and width of 45 metres.
The airport marks the international connectivity for eastern UP and large pockets of Bihar.
Patna airport is not an international airport yet. It is near about 250 kms from here. The Lucknow international airport is 350 kms from here.
The new airport can usher in a new chapter of growth and tourism. Kushinagar is a sought-out destination for Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, especially south and Central Asia region.
As of now Kushinagar and the buddhist circuit gets around 50,000 foreign tourist annually.
The new airport is capable to handle big planes, upto eight flights at the moment. It has a large international size runway.
The project for airport was first conceptualised during Mayawati's government and land acquisition started during Samajwadi government. The project was approved during UPA2 but the work started during Narendra Modi-led government.
The opening ceremony was attended by a Sri Lankan delegation. The delegation will also include Buddhist monks and pilgrims.
With the opening of this airport, travellers from Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam will be able to visit easily Sarnath, Shravasti, Bodh Gaya, Lumbini, Vaishali, Rajgir and Sankisa in considerably lesser time.
Besides, it will serve as a major center for the people of eastern UP to travel to domestic and foreign destinations.