'We want to start its construction work at the beginning of 2021 and hopefully we will be able to finish building it within one and a half years'
Construction work of the country’s first-ever heliport, a dedicated landing facility for helicopters, will begin in 2021.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism has acquired five acres of land at Dhaka’s Kawla Bazar area in Kurmitola for the project and are hopeful to finish building the heliport within a year and a half.
According to the initial proposal of the project, the heliport’s terminal building will have the capacity to accommodate hundreds of passengers at a time and over 8 to 10 helicopters will be able to park in the hangers.
Confirming the matter to Dhaka Tribune, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Mohibul Haque said: “The ministry took the initiative following the instructions given by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. We have already finalized a suitable location for the heliport.
“We want to start its construction work at the beginning of 2021 and hopefully we will be able to finish building it within one and a half years.”
“A committee, led by the Air Commodore Md Khalid Hossain (operations and planning), under the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has already been formed for the project and it has been assigned to submit a report as soon as possible so that the ancillary work of the heliport’s construction can begin,” the secretary added.
The ministry has been trying to get this initiative underway for the last few years so that the heliport established in the capital can function in an integrated manner with future heliports constructed in other parts of the country.
Moreover, during that period the ministry wanted to cut a deal with the country’s big business groups such as Bashundhara Group to start the construction of the heliport in Dhaka but things didn't go as planned.
However, from then on the ministry started reviewing foreign heliports, including India’s first heliport in Delhi, and held several meetings to gain more knowledge and form a work plan.
The government has plans to elaborate this effort with a heliport for each of the divisions to increase connectivity inside the country, sources said.
CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mofidur Rahman said: “Initially we had selected Ashkona for the heliport but then chose the land in Kawla.
“There will be a board meeting to finalize the key aspects of the project on Thursday.”
‘The heliport will be like a mini airport’
“This heliport will have all the facilities of a regular airport. As air traffic at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) has increased by many folds in the last few years, we had no choice but to relocate the country’s helicopter operations to a new dedicated spot,” said the CAAB chairman.
“At present, around 20 to 25 helicopters are operational in the country. After construction, all entities, government, non-government, and private organizations will be able to use the heliport.
“People with medical emergencies will benefit a great deal from this heliport. This initiative will also create several employment opportunities for our people,” he added.