Shillong | Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday met Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in New Delhi and submitted proposals to set up heliports and an international airport in the northeastern state to boost tourism.
The existing Shillong airport has a short runway, which is not feasible for landing of big aircraft, while the Baljek airport in Garo Hills district remained unutilised, an official said.
“Met Hon'ble Union Minister for @MoCA_GoI, Sh. @JM_Scindia ji & presented proposals— to establish heliports in Shillong & Tura, to set up an international airport in Meghalaya & to operationalize the Baljek Airport. These proposals are aimed at boosting our state's tourism potential & economic growth through air connectivity,” Sangma said on Twitter.
Notably, the Meghalaya High Court has recently directed the state government to identify a few pockets of land for the construction of a greenfield airport as the existing facility cannot be extended to accommodate the landing of big aircraft.
At present ATRs and smaller aircraft are landing at the existing airport and the length of the runway and the surrounding hills do not make it feasible for wide-bodied aircraft to call at the facility in Umroi near here, the court had observed.
The court, however, made it clear that it will not interfere or impose its will if both the state and the central governments are reluctant to set up a new airport.