The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has told the UP government that it requires 478.1 acres land for the phase-1 development of the Ayodhya airport, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday.

“The state government of Uttar Pradesh has informed that they have earmarked ₹525.92 crore for acquiring the land so far (for the airport),” Puri said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.

On the request of the UP government, a multi-disciplinary team of the AAI visited the existing Ayodhya airport in December last year to conduct a pre-feasibilty study to develop the airport further so that it can handle wide-bodied aircraft, Puri said.

“As per the techno-economic feasibility study report, the airport is suitable for development in two phases i.e. phase-I and phase-II with the expected rise in passenger traffic in Ayodhya,” he noted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on August 5 performed the ‘bhoomi pujan’ of a Supreme Court-mandated Ram temple in Ayodhya, bringing to fruition the BJP’s ‘mandir’ movement that defined its politics for three decades and took it to the heights of power.

“AAI has projected land requirement of 478.1 acres to the state government of Uttar Pradesh for development of the airport in Phase - I,” Puri stated on Wednesday.

The timeline for start and completion of an airport project depends upon many factors such as land acquisition, availability of mandatory clearances, financial closure, etc, said Puri.