Maritime runway, refuelling centre at Cox’s Bazar airport in the offing
Bangladesh has drawn up a series of plans to transform Cox’s Bazar airport into an international aviation hub.
According to the government’s plans, Cox’s Bazar airport will become the fourth international airport of the country by 2022.
The government has also undertaken an ambitious project to extend the runway at the airport by reclaiming land from the sea.
Once complete, the new 10,700-ft runway will allow much larger aircraft to take off and land at the airport, vastly improving its capacity. The construction work is expected to be completed by May 2024.
In addition, the authorities plan to make it a refuelling centre as it is on an international aviation route.
The airport will also be kept operational for 24 hours to make it more vibrant.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has been executing the plans gradually in line with a master plan, said Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, the regulatory body’s chief.
Following the inauguration ceremony of the construction work of the maritime runway project in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday, he said: “CAAB has done a couple of studies on the Cox’s Bazar airport, which show that the airport has the potential to become a global aviation hub with the extension of the runway and the establishment of the refuelling centre.”
CAAB had also discussed the airport’s potential with the aviation authorities of several countries and experts before undertaking the huge project, he added.
CAAB inked the deal for the project with the Chinese joint venture of Changjiang Yichang Waterway Engineering Bureau (CYWEB) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on February 9, 2021. The estimated cost of the project is Tk1,568.86 crore.
The maritime runway will help Cox’s Bazar, a major tourist attraction, become an international metropolis from a resort town, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said at the inauguration ceremony.
Bangladesh has initially targeted the countries in South Asia that are within 2000-4000 square km of the airport to use it once it goes international. Other Asian and European countries will gradually start using it afterwards, according to a CAAB presentation.
“Cox’s Bazar airport will stay operational round the clock once it becomes an international airport,” State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali said.
“However, we need more investment to transform it into a refuelling centre,” he added.