The first international airport in Himachal Pradesh could become a reality as Airport Authority of India has found Nagchala in Mandi district suitable for construction of an airport.

Replying to a query of the leader of the opposition, Mukesh Agnihotri, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur informed the state assembly that Airport Authority of India has found Nagchala in Mandi district suitable for constructing an international airport.

“Airport Authority of India has found the location suitable in its pre-feasibility report and Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) Survey for the international airport was conducted from 3 to 15 December, 2018,” he said.

Thakur informed that as the OLS survey, the proposed international airport with 2100 metres runaway is feasible for unidirectional operations. The CM further stated that the Himachal Pradesh government had identified around 3490 bighas of land for construction of the international airport in Mandi district.

Out of the total 3490 bighas of identified land, 3160 bighas land is with private owners while 330 bighas land is with the government.

“The Airport Authority of India had conducted feasibility survey on the request of the state government and further discussion are underway with Union government in this regard,” he added.

It is worthwhile to mention here that Himachal has three airports at Shimla, Gaggal in Kangra district and Bhunter in Kullu district but none of the airports is suitable for landing of big aircraft and international flights.

Only domestic flights regularly take Gaggal airport while Shimla and Bhunter airports don’t provide regular flight services to accommodate the needs of tourists as well the people of the state.