As the work on the expansion of Cox's Bazar Airport runway gains momentum, officials involved with the project hope to get it ready for direct international flights by 2023, almost a year before the schedule.
“The runway expansion work is going on really fast,” director of the project Yunus Bhuiyan told UNB in a recent interview.
“Although the project is scheduled to be completed in May 2024, our target is to complete the work by November 2023,” he said.
Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority Air Vice Marshal M Mofidur Rahman said that Cox's Bazar will have an international standard airport once the runway expansion work is completed.
He said Cox's Bazar airport is going to find a place in the list of world's most beautiful airports. Tourists from different parts of the world can come directly to the tourist centres of the region.
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“Pretty soon it would turn into an international airport. New generation Boeing 777-300 ER, B-747, Airbus and other big planes will be able to take off at this airport. This would create a regional aviation hub at the airport,” he noted.
The runway will be expanded to 10,700 feet to become the longest runway in Bangladesh after the expansion project is completed. And 1,300 feet of the runway will run into the sea. As part of the renovation the authorities have already completed construction of a new terminal building, increased supply of power, installation of airfield ground lighting system and other works
Sea sand filling work is underway near Sonadia Island in Maheshkhali, work on the terminal building inside the airport is nearly completed. Infrastructure and casting work on the terminal building has already been completed; finishing works will be done soon. Besides, the old terminal building is being repaired.
tate Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md. Mahbub Ali said when the ongoing work is completed, the size of the runway will increase, the airport will be sophisticated and attractive. Hopefully, if the whole project is implemented, international flights will be operated. As a result, domestic and foreign tourists will be able to easily travel from here, he said.
The number of foreign tourists in Cox's Bazar would increase and the country would benefit economically. Besides, travellers of Bangladesh could directly go to different countries using this airport, he said.
About the Project
According to project sources, the runway is being expanded through the acquisition of land towards the Maheshkhali Channel at Cox's Bazar Airport. The cost of the project is Tk 1568.86 crore which is being financed by Civil Aviation Authority Bangladesh (CAAB).
For this project, CAAB authorities signed an agreement with China's Changjiang Waterway Engineering Bureau (CYWEB) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on January 9 this year.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the operation of Biman's Boeing 737 at the airport’s expanded runway in 2017. At that time, she directed to expand the runway further into the Bay of Bengal.