Announcing its intent to significantly spruce up civil aviation infrastructure in Gujarat, the State government on Wednesday said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop 11 new greenfield airports and expand nine existing ones.

“We are going very aggressive with regard to the civil aviation network. We have told AAI that we are ready to acquire land and provide it free of cost for these projects. Though an estimate for these projects have not been drawn, each airport is likely to cost ₹1,500-3,000 crore,” Hareet Shukla, Secretary, Civil Aviation, told businessline.

Ankleshwar, Morbi, Rajpipla, Botad, Dwarka, Dhordo, Rajula, Dahod, Ambaji, Dholavira and Palitana have been identified for the development of greenfield airports, stated an official statement from the State government. “Both the State government and AAI will conduct a technical feasibility study and will also examine the availability of land needed for these projects,” Shukla said.

When asked if the State government was focusing on increasing the regional connectivity in the state, the government official said, “We are not only looking to connect some of the cities, but also tourist spots like Dhordo and Dholavira and some pilgrimage centres like Dwarka, Ambaji and Palitana. These projects have long gestation and so we need to start now.”

As per the agreement with the AAI, Gujarat government will provide the necessary land and other utility services like electricity and water needed for the airports. The government stated that it will also explore possibilities of three additional greenfield airports at Vadnagar, Siddhpur and Kevadia.

Apart from the greenfield airport development, the state government is also looking at brownfield development of nine airports. The government is looking to expand existing airports at Surat, Vadodara, Kandla, Porbandar, Bhavnagar and Keshod. The government also plans to expand airstrips at Mehsana, Amreli and Mandvi airports.

Currently, Gujarat has about 11 functional airports including those at Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Kandla, Bhuj, Porbandar, Keshod and Mundra. Gujarat government and AAI are jointly developing an international airport at Dholera. The State also has at least two sea-plane terminals at Sabarmati River front in Ahmedabad and another at Kevadia.