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Shahjalal Airport uplift project finally takes off

Ishtiaq Husain |
Update: 2010-08-27 00:06:29
Shahjalal Airport uplift project finally takes off

DHAKA: Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), the main gateway to Bangladesh by air, is going to get a facelift to a most modern airport as a long-delayed modernization project finally takes off at the beginning of next year.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) authorities told that the airport would get recognition as a modern airport after the implementation of the project.

It is learnt that Denmark had placed a project proposal titled “Upgradation of Airport” to the Civil Aviation Authority 13 years ago. The project was supposed to be implemented in 2003-04 fiscal.

Later, the then Awami League and BNP-Jamaat governments failed to carry out the project. The last caretaker government also ignored the scheme.

CAAB sources said masterminds did not take initiative to approve the project on different excuses. They were allegedly dillydallying to accept the project as they did not get any “bribe”.

The sources said Denmark is financing the Tk 400 corer project and the amount will be refunded within 10 years free of interest.

The airport could be upgraded to category- 3 if the project is implemented. No aircraft of Biman Bangladesh Airlines can land in the United States until the main airport of Bangladesh is upgraded to the category-3 status.

Member (Operation) of CAAB Group Captain Sayedur Rahman had earlier said that the Danish-funded project for installing modern equipment had long been stalled.

Former chairman of Civil Aviation Air Commodore (retd) Iqbal Hossain told, “Denmark had proposed the project two years before I took the responsibility. But the project suffered from procrastination for reasons not known.”        

The project works include reconstruction of taxiway, installation of new radar and center-line light on the runway, and increasing the height of control tower.

Besides, Instrument Landing System (ILS), Very High Radio Beacon (VOR), Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN), Non-directional Beacon (NDB) and Distance-Measuring Equipment (DME) would also be set up in the airport.

The airport also lacks all the amenities of an international aviation hub, sources added.

“A pretender would be floated on September 21. The work order would also be issued in January next year,” said one of the CAAB sources.

The length of runway is still measured with bare eyes. The sight length is measured on the basis of assumption from airport tower.

Moreover, the takeoff and landing of planes take place without any runway visual range. For this reason, the authorities are compelled to halt the air traffic even in dim mist.

CAAB chairman Air Commodore (retd.) Mahmud Hossain could not be reached over phone for his comment.  

BDST: 1855 HRS, AUG 27, 2010.

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