Sunday, November 07, 2021

Will Rourkela Airport be Hockey World Cup-ready by July 2022?

Rourkela: Even as Rourkela is bracing up for the Men’s Hockey World Cup-2023, delay in upgradation and expansion of the city airport for operating ATR-72 aircraft has thrown questions on its completion on time. 

While work on Birsa Munda Hockey stadium and other associated infrastructure are scheduled to be completed by July next year, it is not yet clear when the work on the airport will be over.

Reliable sources said since 2017 valuable time has been wasted and no clear strategy formulated for modification of the airport which is owned by Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) of SAIL and run by Airports Authority of India (AAI). 

A couple of years back, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued Aerodrome Reference Code (ARC) 2B licence to operate 19-seater aircraft from the airport under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)- Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagarik (UDAN).

This despite the fact that the airport handles much bigger aircraft of SAIL on a regular basis.

However, the plan did not materialise as no airline came forward with proposals to operate small aircraft from the airport. 

Subsequently, the authorities came up with a plan to upgrade the airport into Code 3C to run ATR-72 flight by removing infrastructure deficiencies and runway expansion.

In February this year a high-level team comprising Principal Secretary of Commerce & Transport department Madhusudan Padhi and Union Civil Aviation Joint Secretary Usha Padhi visited the airport and instructed officials concerned to prepare short-term and long-term master plan for upgrading the existing ARC 2B licence. 

07/11/21 New Indian Express

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