Bhopal, Jun 27: Union Civil Aviation Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Prafulla Patel today announced massive expansion and renovation plans for Madhya Pradesh's four airports at a cost of Rs 8.5 crore.
Mr Patel told mediapersons here that his ministry was serious to uplifting the condition of the four airports -- Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Khajuraho -- in the state.
He said among other plans, expansion of the runway of Bhopal airport in order to convert it into an international standard airport would be the first priority.
The Minister said 350 acres land had already been acquired at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore for the expansion of runway.
''The runway of Bhopal airport is small and we have chalked out plans to develop it into an international standard and connect it with all major cities in the world. The work would be completed by next year,'' Mr Patel informed.
Apart from constructing the runway, the terminals of the airport would also be renovated, he said.
Mr Patel said new terminals would also be built at Indore, Gwalior, Khajuraho airports, while night landing facilities would be provided to Jabalpur airport by next year.
''Regular flight connectivity already exists between Bhopal and Indore. Now, direct air connectivity would be established between Gwalior and Jabalpur. Besides, world-famous Khajuraho would be brought on the world air connectivity map,'' he said.
Mr Patel informed that the number of air passengers had increased four times in the past four years from 1.5 crore to 5 crore.
He said the civil aviation ministry had opened several new airports in the country and the air travel had become easier and common people were travelling through air.
Lamenting that air travel has become expensive due to the increase of oil price, he noted that still the number of middle class passengers had increased.