SAIL and Airport Authority of India signed a MoU on utilisation of airstrip of SAIL’s Rourkela, Bokaro and Burnpur in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, respectively under the UDAN scheme.

The RCS-UDAN scheme, launched by Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), envisages enhancing the regional air connectivity by providing support in terms of infrastructure and other facilities.

Under the MoU, AAI as an implementation agency under RCS-UDAN would be executing the required works before commencement of RCS flights at all the three airports.

Eventually, AAI will operate and manage airport operations for Burnpur, Rourkela and Bokaro airports, on behalf of SAIL for three years. Start of operations at Rourkela, Bokaro and Burnpur airports under the RCSUDAN would immensely benefit the citizens of these cities through better connectivity.

President of Rourkela Chambers of Commerce and Industries, (RCCI) K Poddar said, “we were waiting for it as this will be helpful for all and the businesses in particular. Similarly, at the NIT Rourkela there is also a sense of happiness over this. An official release said, “It is a matter of delight and a heartening moment for NIT Rourkela.”

Earlier, many acclaimed academicians were declining to visit the institute because of lack of air connectivity now that will not be a problem and the standard of placement will go up a few notch with this. Director of AAI at Bhubaneswar Suresh Hota was hopeful of early commencement of operations.

“If everything goes as per plan I think it will be sooner not later. Over ninety five per cent of work on Rourkela airport will be over,” said Hota. The all-important precision approach path indicator (PAPI), the instrument which guides the incoming flight is to be installed.

“My team visited there and soon it will be procured and installed, and meanwhile SAIL will have to get the licence from Director General of Civil Aviation for the purpose, and we are helping them in this regard,” informed Hota.

The airport will cater to 19 seater planes under the scheme. The runway length is 1820 and 30 meters in width. Hota informed that on the first phase the plan is to operate one plane to Bhubaneswar and another to Kolkata.