Anwar Hossain
The construction of the much talked-about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport is likely to begin next year.
According to planning ministry, this will be the biggest airport in the South Asia where A380 aircrafts can take off and land. Once completed, the airport will become a bridge between the east and the west.
“Japanese farm Nippon Koei has been conducting the feasibility study at Char Janajat in Madaripur district, Keyain and Latobdi in Munshiganj district and Char Bilashpur in Dhaka district,” an official of Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry told Bangladesh Post. He said after obtaining the feasibility study reports conducted at three sites, they will confirm which site will be chosen for the construction of the new airport that is going to be equipped with most advanced facilities.
“We are very much optimistic that the construction of the proposed airport will begin next year,” he said.
Earlier in 2012, the government had to abandon the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport project after years of serious move to build a world-class airport along with a satellite city in the face of protest instigated by opposition parties. Mentionable, the World Bank was ready to finance the project.
However, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as per its plan to make the country able to reap the benefit of its geographical position to be a global aviation hub and a bridge between the east and the west has taken up the project again.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mohibul Haque told Bangladesh Post, ‘We are hopeful that we will get the feasibility study report by the end of January next year. Our feasibility study is being conducted in some places, based on the recommendation of the report we will pick the right place for constructing the airport.’
When asked as to when the construction work will begin he said, ‘Usually it takes more than one year after the feasibility study report is submitted. Once we get the report we will go for appointing consultants for design, layout, construction and other works, based on the recommendations placed in the report’.
‘We are very much hopeful that incident like the one happened over Arial Beel in Munshiganj will not be repeated this time as we will have opinion from the general people of the primarily selected places and engage all concerned in the process’, he went on saying.
It was learnt that air traffic and cargo transportation has increased dramatically in the country. None of the country’s airports are well equipped to handle the massive flow of goods and passengers the country is going to see in the coming days, say experts in the relevant field.
Country’s main gateway Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is already losing its capacity in passenger and cargo handling. With the growing aviation demand there is less opportunities for the airport to handle in the coming days.
According to Civil Aviation Authority Bangladesh (CAAB) information, three different sites have been primarily identified to establish the most modern infrastructure of the country. These sites are ‘Char Janajat’ in Madaripur district, ‘Keyain and Latobdi’ in Munshiganj district and Char Bilashpur in Dhaka district.
These sites were selected immediately after debacle of Arial Beel in Munshiganj where Nippon Koei was tasked to conduct a feasibility study during 2016. The 18 months long study cost Tk 120 crore and findings of the study have been submitted to CAAB.
According to the project proposal, the construction will cost Tk 50,000 crore. The airport will have three runways of 14,500 feet in length each. It will cover an area of around 8,000 acres. The project is estimated to take around 10 years for completion.
Earlier on July 25 on district commissioner’s conference, civil aviation and tourism minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal said to cooperate in early and successful construction of Bangabandhu International Airport.
On November 13, last year, Germany’s AviAlliance expressed interest to jointly finance, design, develop and operate Bangabandhu International Airport with the government.
It is to be noted, Bangabandhu Airport will be implemented in several phases. First phase includes construction of three runways and dual terminal, a large parking bay for around 75 cargos, passenger aircraft. The phase also includes a maintenance hanger, workshop, support facilities and fire station.
As per CAAB information it was learnt that, once implementing the first phase, another two terminals for passenger traffic will be build and there also plan to link the airport with an expressway for easier access with the capital city.