Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kushinagar International Airport on Wednesday.
The international airport will get operational this week to ease cumbersome travel of earlier times and facilitate the air travel requirements of international Buddhist pilgrims in India.
The inaugural flight will land at the airport from Colombo, Sri Lanka carrying 125 dignitaries and Buddhist monks, highlighting the convenience to Buddhists across the world to visit the Mahaparinirvan Sthal of Lord Buddha.
The Airports Authority of India, in its continuous endeavour to upgrade airport infrastructure in the country, has developed the Kushinagar Airport with new terminal building spread across 3600 sqm, at an estimated cost of Rs 260 crore in association with the Government of Uttar Pradesh considering the demand of the domestic and international visitors and pilgrimage.
The new terminal is equipped to handle 300 passengers during peak hours. Kushinagar is an International Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where Lord Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana.
It is also the centre point of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya. The airport will help in attracting more followers of Buddhism from home and abroad to Kushinagar and will enhance the development of Buddhist theme based circuit. Journey of Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Shravasti, Rajgir, Sankisa and Vaishali of Buddhist circuit will be covered in lesser time.
Inauguration of the airport will facilitate the pilgrims from different parts of the world by providing seamless connectivity to various Buddhist sites in the region. Direct aviation connectivity with South Asian countries will make it easier for tourists arriving from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore etc to reach Kushinagar and experience the rich heritage of the region. Tourism inflow is expected to rise by upto 20 per cent with inauguration of the flight.