New Delhi: Following the objections from the Defence Ministry to use Behta Air Force airstrip for commercial use, the Bihar government is not planning to shift Patna Airport outside the city. Rather, the government is planning to expand the Gaya international airport and start regular flight operations.

Due to the short length of the Patna Airport, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had declared it as dangerous and advised to shift it out of the city.

The state government agreed upon shifting it to Behta if the Defence Ministry allowed. In the meantime, Punpun, another option for the airport, was considered but due to lower land it could not be viable.

According to sources, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had met with Highway Minister CP Joshi asking him to expedite the expansion of NH-83 so that Gaya Airport could be developed and used as an international airport.

Both had agreed upon that after expansion of the highway to four lanes, the travel time for Gaya would reduce from two-and-a-half hours to one-and-a-half hours.

Although the Gaya Airport is an international airport but for namesake as big aircrafts do not operate on regular basis.

The international flights for tourists also take off occasionally. Eyeing to develop Gaya as a tourist spot, the tour operators are mounting pressure on the government to develop it on international level.

JPN/Bureau