Nowadays, Patna’s Jayaprakash Narayan International (JPNI) Airport is witnessing a bumper passenger flow trajectory.
Patna airport has registered a 21.9% increase in passenger flow in the first six months of 2016-17. Patna airport handled 9,40,405 passengers between April and September against 7,71,188 during the same period last year. In terms of monthly passenger movement, Patna airport handled 1,51,182 in September this year against 1,19,204 in the same month last year. The Airports Authority of India (AAI), disclosed these figures recently.
This phenomenal rise in air passenger traffic at Patna is attributed mainly to ever increasing number of Patna bound air travellers. “There is a large chunk of floating population in Bihar, which keeps travelling in and out of Patna,” JPNI airport director Rajendra Singh Lahauria told media. The airlines, too, notably IndiGo and Go Air, didn’t see any harm while introducing more number of flights with surprisingly low airfares which on various sectors have come down recently, making it well within the reach of the common man.
Increase in the number of daily flights operating from Patna in 2016 :-
IndiGo — from 3 in 2012-13 to 13.
GoAir — from 3 in 2012-13 to 6.
Total — from 10 in 2012-13 to 25.
The availability of more flights has resulted in competition among the various airlines which, in turn, has reduced the airfares on different sectors. At times, airfare on Patna-Delhi and Patna-Calcutta route is similar to AC class train fare.
The average daily number of passengers at the terminal building stands at around 7,000. The total seating capacity of the passenger holding area is not more than 1000. “Considering the traffic of passengers and aircraft, the terminal building and the runway in Patna are one of the most saturated among all airports in the country,” said Lahauria.
It is in acknowledgement of the scarcity of space in the terminal building that the state government and the AAI are working on a scheme for the expansion of Patna Airport besides simultaneous operation of flights from the Bihta airbase. With the Secretariat tower on one end and a railway cabin on the other, nothing much could be done for the development of the existing airport.
Subject to clearance from the defense ministry, the Patna Airport is headed further west – towards Bihta – amid efforts for its development. The AAI board has agreed to transfer around 11 acres of its land at Anisabad to Bihar government in return of 13 acres of land of the state hangar, depot of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and 6.5 acres of land owned by Special Task Force (STF) adjacent to the airport. The additional land is proposed to be used for renovating the terminal building into a two-storey smart building capable of handling passengers through aerobridges.