The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the airport in Kushinagar of Uttar Pradesh to be declared as India’s next gateway to the world.
After this decision as taken, aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet, “Direct international connectivity to Kushinagar will substantially increase the number of foreign and domestic tourists to the region. This will also provide impetus to economic development of the region by enabling growth of tourism & hospitality ecosystem in the area.”
The aviation ministry said in a statement that Kushinagar airport is located in the vicinity of several Buddhist cultural sites like Sravasti, Kapilvastu, Lumbini (Kushinagar itself is a Buddhist cultural site) and declaration as an ‘international airport’ will offer improved connectivity, wider choice of competitive costs to the air-travellers. “It will result in boosting of domestic/international tourism and economic development of the regions. It will be an important strategic location with the international border close by. Kushinagar is located in the north-eastern part of Uttar Pradesh about 50 km east of Gorakhpur and is one of the important Buddhist pilgrimage sites,” it added.
Last year, in the month of March, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) with the state government of Uttar Pradesh for taking over the development as well as the operationalisation of the existing Kushinagar Airport, belonging to the Uttar Pradesh government. To enhance air connectivity in the region, the AAI had agreed to take over the non-operational Kushinagar Airport, which is spread over an area of 589 acres along with its infrastructure like apron, runway, etc. for the airport’s development and operationalisation.