India may soon get its first runway on a “sea bridge”. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has got green nod to extend Lakshadweep’s Agatti Airport by building an RCC platform on the beach and shallow sea.
The runway will be extended on this platform and the longer airstrip will allow bigger ATRs to operate to the island. The nod for this came after AAI was asked to drop its earlier plan of linking two adjacent islands for the purpose of extending the runway. The island-linking plan has been changed due to environmental concerns. Now, we will get into the beach and shallow sea area, erect pillars there and build an RCC platform on that. On this extended area, we will expand the runway and terminal.
The entire project is likely to cost about Rs 1,500 crore. Once completed, the runway will be long enough for ATR-72 to operate. The air fare (to and from Agatti) is on the higher side as the ATR-72 aircraft are running with load penalty and carry only maximum of 50 passengers with 15 kg of luggage against 65 passengers with maximum luggage of 15 kg and no provision of paid luggage.