The commencement of commercial flight operations at the Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram Airport in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, is eagerly anticipated to coincide with the opening of the grand Ram Temple in January 2024, according to officials.
The consecration ceremony for the Ram Temple is slated for 22 January of the following year, setting a deadline that has prompted a flurry of activity. "It is a race against time, but the airport will be completed along with the construction of the Ram Temple," assured an official.
In the second phase of development, Ayodhya will be equipped for international commercial flight operations.
The initial phase involves launching commercial flight services at the Ayodhya airport, expanding the runway to a length of 2,245 metres, and installing a Doppler Very High-Frequency Omni Range (DVOR) system along with a homing gate system.
The DVOR is a standard ground-based radio navigational aid recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It provides bearing information to aircraft, aiding in defining air traffic control routes for en-route, terminal, and instrument approach, as well as departure procedures.
Additionally, the installation of a glidepath (GP) for descent profiles and an instrument landing system, a precision approach path indicator, has been completed. With the incorporation of night and fog landing facilities, the initial phase will cater exclusively to domestic operations.
In the second phase, geared for international operations, the runway will be extended to 3,125 metres, and a second terminal will be erected on a 30,000-square-metre area. The entire airport spans an impressive 821 acres.
Notably, over 70 per cent of the construction work for Terminal-1, along with essential elements like the air traffic control tower, apron, taxiway, and isolation area, has already been accomplished.
The airport is poised to accommodate 500 passengers per hour and can simultaneously host eight Airbus A-320 aircraft.
Rajeev Kulshrestha, AAI engineering in-charge for Ayodhya airport, explained, "All ground instrument calibration has been completed. The airport is expected to be completed along with the Ram Temple construction, after which the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will grant a licence for commercial operations."
He added, "Airlines will establish their infrastructure to manage passenger and flight operations. We anticipate that by the early first quarter of 2024, Ayodhya airport will connect cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, in addition to Kolkata and the national capital, Delhi."
The initial cost of the first phase of the project stands at Rs 323 crore. The airport's entry and exit points will have four lanes directly connected to Sultanpur Road.
To give the airport a distinctive appearance reminiscent of the Ram Temple, the pillars and roof of Terminal-1 are being adorned with glass-reinforced concrete slabs. These slabs, while lightweight, resemble intricately carved heavy stones, reports the Economic Times.
A dedicated team of 70-80 workers is diligently bolting them onto the roof and pillars using iron frames. This effort aims to transform the airport into a gateway that harmoniously echoes the architectural aesthetics of the Ayodhya Ram Temple.
Intriguingly, the internal design of the domestic terminal will narrate various phases of Lord Ram's life, instilling a sense of spirituality from the moment travellers step inside.
The commitment to environmental sustainability is evident through the incorporation of solar panels in the vehicle parking area, ensuring energy efficiency, while the extensive use of glass panels allows ample natural sunlight to illuminate the terminal.
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