The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has announced its decision to invest Rs. 120 crore for upgradation of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) airport.

Work is already underway for extension and resurfacing of the secondary runway, addition of bays and installation of aerobridges at the domestic terminal, sources close to the development said.

The secondary runway is being extended by 440 metres from the existing 2,399 metres to accommodate the landing and take-off of bigger carriers.

The surface of both runways is being strengthened with bitumen at present, said V.S. Monga, director of the Kolkata Airport. Two remote bays are being built for parking of aeroplanes.

At present, there are four remote and six in-contact bays at the domestic terminal. For night-time parking, seven bays from the international parking quota will be provided, he said.

Three new aerobridges will be added to bring the total number to six. A canopy spread over 2,650 sq m will be erected outside the building covering a four-lane driveway for cars.

In order to prepare for two new carriers that are to begin operations in Kolkata by the end of this year, 12 new counters would be added to the existing 33. A software called common utility of terminal equipment (CUTE) will be installed at departure counters, enabling passengers of any airline to check-in from any counter.

A new conveyor belt, which has been installed at the departure zone, is expected to become functional within the next couple of months. There are two conveyor belts in this zone. All of them are to be fitted with X-ray machines, Monga said.

The arrival area would also get an additional conveyor belt to take the total count to four. Hold areas will be increased at two levels in an attempt to achieve a 50 percent enhancement in security check. In all, five hold areas will be in place.

Additional escalators will be put in place to assist passengers in using the first-floor security hold and reduce congestion on the first floor.

An AC cargo complex for perishable goods is being built on a 600 sq. mt. plot on the airport property adjacent to the Jessore road area, Monga said. Another integrated cargo-handling facility for international cargo is being built on an adjacent plot with a holding capacity of 40,000 metric tonnes.

Work on most projects is already in progress and these are expected to be completed by the end of this year. Extension work on the runway, however, is expected to be over by March next year, he said.