Within a fortnight of the Union government announcing three low-cost airports in Punjab, a high-powered committee of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has arrived in the state to test the feasibility of the airports. On July 11, the four-member team led by Joint General Manager N Makhija arrived to check the economic and technical feasibility of constructing low-cost domestic airports in Patiala, Ferozepur, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.
It did the aerial and ground survey in Patiala and Ferozepur and on will also survey the other two cities. The Patiala airport was not on the first list to come out of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) but was included later because of its potential, as the city has a flying academy and runway already. Here, Makhija inspected the runway in detail to prepare his report. The runway of 3,840 feet will have increase to a minimum of 5,000 feet for the landing of the ATR and similar-category aircraft.
During the inspection, additional deputy commissioner APS Virk and municipal commissioner Gurpal Singh Chahal briefed the team. After visiting Ludhiana and Jalandhar, the team will submit a final report to the aviation ministry. The AAI team is impressed with the facilities at the Patiala strip, which can be turned into a domestic airport easily, said Makhija.