In a press release issued by Minister Prakash Hukkeri, its states that the civil aviation ministry has in principle approved the up gradation of the Belgaum Airport for about Rs.33.20 crores. The current Runway measuring 1459 mtrs in length and 45 meters wide would be widened to 2500 mtrs(Press note mentions it as 1830 mtrs but for Boeing or Airbus to land 2500 mtrs is needed). There is nothing really substantial to be elated about. The work on constructing the boundary wall was stalled by the locals over issues of land for graveyard which have not been resolved even after land acquisition. The work of the wall is currently halted.
The actual expansion work can only begin after the boundary wall has been built. What is good news is ofcourse the paper work for the same has begun and in due course a tender for the same would also be floated now. With the acquisition of 370 acres the airport would be spread across 440 acres.
The actual extension of the airport was planned in 1999 and the working airport was closed citing the up-gradation process.
It must be recalled that in reply to the supplementary question asked by MP Suresh Angadi in the Loksabha, the Union Minister for Civil Aviation said, the Belgaum airport is being developed jointly with the Indian Navy. Total outlay is Rs. 293 crore, out of which, the share of AAI is 142 crore and the Indian Navy is paying Rs. 151 crore.
The airport needs an extension of runway so as to land Boeing 737-800 or A320 types of planes. The runway is already wide enough but the length is the constraint. The present apron is also limited for Avro or ATR 72. To allow a Boeing it will need a small expansion on either southeast or southwest side of old taxiway which is now in the current plan for the runway expansion.