BPCL to set up refuelling facility at Shillong airport


Shillong : Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) wants to set up a refuelling facility at Shillong airport, says Meghalaya Transport Minister Abu Taher Mondal.

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Formerly known as Umroi airport, 35 km north of Shillong, it has been upgraded with six check-in counters, a security hold area and separate blocks for arrivals and departures.

“BPCL is willing to set up the refuelling facility after we (government) waived off tax on aviation fuel to encourage airlines to operate from Shillong,” Mondal told IANS.

The exemption seeks to woo domestic and international tourists to Meghalaya.

“Once we have good air connectivity, then the flow of tourists visiting our state would increase,” Mondal said.

To facilitate landing of bigger aircraft, Mondal said 224.16 acres of land have been acquired for the airport’s expansion.

“We have handed over 192 acres of land to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to develop the airport. The Meghalaya government has sought Rs.26 crore from the central government for its expansion,” he said.

The new runway will be enhanced from the present 6,000 feet to 7,500 feet. It will be realigned with the existing runway, which will be equipped with the Instrument Landing System to assist landing even in low visibility or bad weather, the minister said.

The new runway will have a strength of PCN 54 (Pavement Classification Number), which means it can withstand the load and speed of bigger aircraft like Airbus 300, the minister added.

Meghalaya is a landlocked state and is presently connected with the rest of the country mostly by roads.

Mondal said Meghalaya had also approached the Air India to start direct flights to Kolkata.

Shillong Airport can accommodate only 50-seater ATR aircraft, serviced every day except Friday from Kolkata via Jorhat in Assam by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India.