In perspective, the state had only two international airports since 2012 when Varanasi got this distinction after Lucknow. The international airport at Kushinagar became operational after it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 20, 2021, while work on the international airport in Ayodhya is on full swing and air services are expected to start early next year. The fifth international airport is to come up at Jewar near Noida in the National Capital Region (NCR).
At present, Uttar Pradesh has 8 operational airports, while 13 airports and 7 airstrips are being developed. The operational airports handling commercial flights in Uttar Pradesh are Lucknow, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Gorakhpur, Agra, Kanpur, Prayagraj and Hindon (Ghaziabad).
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The unique distinction of Uttar Pradesh in providing unmatched air connectivity in the country is in keeping with the Government's commitment to ensure uninterrupted multi-modal connectivity on land, railways, water and air. The ambitious Prime Minister's GatiShakti National Master Plan has infused a sense of urgency into the plans for infrastructure development in the state.
The Noida International Airport (NIA) being constructed near the town of Jewar in Gautam Buddh Nagar in the NCR region in Uttar Pradesh will be India's largest airport after its completion. Its location is about 72 km from the existing IGI airport in New Delhi, 40 km from Noida and about 40 km from the multi-modal logistics hub at Dadri.
It will have excellent multi-modal connectivity as it is close to the existing Yamuna Expressway (Greater Noida to Agra), close to Eastern Peripheral Expressway and it will have link with Delhi-Mumbai Expressway at Ballabhgarh, Khurja-Jewar NH 91, link to dedicated freight corridor, Metro Extension from Noida to NIA and link with the proposed High Speed Rail (Delhi-Varanasi) at airport terminal.
* The phase I of the airport will have a capacity to serve 12 million passengers a year and is scheduled to be completed in 36 months.
* In each phase, the airport will expand to serve 70 million passengers by the end of phase 4, subject to passenger growth and traffic.
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The Kushinagar airport inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 20 is located 47 km from Gorakhpur. Kushinagar is an important place for Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world as it is believed that Gautam Buddha had attained Nirvana here more than 2,500 years ago. It provides connectivity to many places of Buddhist pilgrimage such as Lumbini in Rupandehi District of Nepal; Sarnath in Varanasi, Shravasti near Bahraich, and Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Vaishali in Bihar.
The air connectivity of both eastern and western Uttar Pradesh will improve manifold with the Kushinagar airport and proposed NIA.
It will truly be a momentous achievement for a state that is on way to be a leader in the nation's march towards progress.