A new civilian terminal will be constructed at the Agra airport to cater to the city's growing tourist inflow, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said.
The Defence Ministry has agreed to offer 50 to 70 acresof land to the Civil Aviation Ministry to construct the new terminal building in the Agra airport.
"I have already spoken to the Defence Minister (A KAntony). The Civil Aviation Ministry officials also have met Defence Ministry officials. They are now ready to offer 50 to70 acres of land to construct a new terminal for civilian operations," Singh told.
The Agra airport is under the control of the Defence Ministry and is one of the largest airbases of the Indian AirForce. Agra is the most visited tourist destination in India due to Taj Mahal and other Mughal-era monuments.
In 2012, nearly80 lakh tourists visited the world heritage monument. However, there are very few airlines which fly to Agra primarily due to lack of proper infrastructure.
Most of the tourists travel to Agra either by road or trains. "We hope that the construction of a new civilian terminal in Agra will help tourists, especially foreigners, to easily travel to the historic city," the minister said.
Singh said his Ministry was contemplating to redevelop nine airstrips in Uttar Pradesh to facilitate air connectivityto these places. "In Uttar Pradesh, we want to start nine airports... in Allahabad, Meerut, Bareilly etc.
Hopefully flights will operate from these places soon," he said. The minister, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, said the Delhi airport contributes 15 per cent to the capital's GDP and hence the UP government should encourage development of small airports as it would bring economic activity connected to air networks and development to the cities.