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Ram Mandir inauguration: Dozen airports asked to share parking space for aircraft dropping off VIPs in Ayodhya

The newly inaugurated Ayodhya airport poses a challenge with limited parking slots, prompting the need for alternative airports within a 1,000km range. The AAI has received requests for 48 chartered planes, including luxurious private jets, for the event.

Ram Mandir inauguration: Dozen airports asked to share parking space for aircraft dropping off VIPs in Ayodhya
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First Published Jan 19, 2024, 9:31 AM IST

The Civil Aviation Ministry is actively coordinating the systematic parking of chartered aircraft set to transport VIP guests to Ayodhya for the consecration of the Ram temple on January 22. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has identified 12 strategically located airports across five states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand -- for parking private and chartered jets destined for the event.

Click HERE to access our special coverage of the Ram Mandir consecration

The recently inaugurated Maharishi Valmiki International Ayodhya Airport, with only four parking spaces designated for single-aisle jets, presents a challenge. One of these limited slots will be exclusively reserved for PM Modi's aircraft, India One. To address the parking limitations at Ayodhya airport, a dozen airports within a 1,000km range have been identified to share parking spaces for jets having a night halt after dropping dignitaries in Ayodhya, according to an AAI source.

The proposed alternative airports include Khajuraho, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Dehradun, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Gaya, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Varanasi, Kushinagar, and Deoghar.

Sources indicate that the AAI has received numerous requests for the landing of 48 chartered planes in Ayodhya on January 22. The anticipated arrivals include ultra-luxurious private jets such as the 10-seater Dassault Falcon 2000, Embraer 135 LR & Legacy 650, Cessna, Beechcraft Super King Air 200, and Bombardier.

Ayodhya's airport is well-equipped to handle landings in all weather conditions, including night landings. Varanasi airport, a key alternative, is already prepared for 30 flights scheduled between January 21 and 23, as confirmed by airport director Puneet Gupta. He mentioned that efforts are being made to accommodate helicopters locally, but any potential overflow may be directed to Lucknow and Gorakhpur.

Despite the logistical intricacies, officials also face the challenge of the ongoing spell of fog. Gupta clarified that landing in Ayodhya is viable with 550m visibility, while in Varanasi, the threshold is set at 900m visibility. The authorities are working diligently to ensure a smooth and secure transportation process for the distinguished guests attending the historic event.

Click HERE to access our special coverage of the Ram Mandir consecration

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