The Indian Air Force (IAF) now has 39 out of 53 military airfields and nine forward landing fields (ALGs) planned for civilian aircraft usage as part of an attempt to strengthen regional connectivity and enable easier access to isolated places, the IAF announced on Tuesday.
The joint user airfield program would apply to military airfields in Tier II and III cities such as Adampur, Agra, Allahabad, Ambala, Avantipur, Bagdogra, Bareilly, Bhatinda, Bhuj, Bidar, Bihta, Chandigarh, Darbhanga, Gwalior, Gorakhpur, Halwara, Hasimara, Hindan, Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Jorhat, Kalaikunda and Kanpur, Nal (Bikaner), Pune, Purnea, Sarsawa, Tezpur, Thanjavur and Silchar.
It will also apply to military airfields in Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil, Leh, Pathankot, Thoise, Uttarlai and Car Nicobar and increase connection to these sites. Some of the airports were declared for dual usage earlier.
Dual use ALGs include Pasighat, Along, Mechuka, Tawang, Tuting, Walong, Ziro and Vijaynagar. Most of them are located in the remote and hilly places of Arunachal Pradesh. Most of China’s infrastructure is being created along the Line of Actual Dual-Use Control, including villages and airfields.
Military officials said that whenever the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) approaches the IAF with requests to assign particular dual-use military airfields, the IAF issues approvals based on certain feasibility studies it carries out.
The IAF is providing all essential support to the MoCA in terms of defence grounds and associated infrastructure to permit civilian operations from existing military airfields, a defence official said.
Where an apron is lacking, the IAF has provided the MoCA with its own parking places and other facilities. Additionally, if the MoCA does not have designated civilian terminals, the IAF, in collaboration with the Airports Authority of India, enable passenger access to the Air Force Station, where passengers board the planes.