Shah Amanat International Airport

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Shah Amanat International Airport
শাহ আমানত আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর
Śhā Amānat Antarjātik Bimānabandar
ShahAmanatAirport-01.jpg
IATA: CGPICAO: VGEG
CGP is located in Bangladesh
CGP
CGP
Location of airport in Bangladesh
Summary
Airport type Public / Military
Owner Bangladesh Government
Operator Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh
Serves Chittagong, Bangladesh
Location Patenga
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 12 ft / 4 m
Coordinates 22°14′59″N 91°48′48″E / 22.24972°N 91.81333°E / 22.24972; 91.81333 (Shah Amanat International Airport)Coordinates: 22°14′59″N 91°48′48″E / 22.24972°N 91.81333°E / 22.24972; 91.81333 (Shah Amanat International Airport)
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
05/23 9,646 2,940 Concrete / Asphalt
Source: Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh[1]

Shah Amanat International Airport (IATA: CGPICAO: VGEG) (Bengali:শাহ আমানত আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর, Śhā Amānat Antarjātik Bimānbandar), is an international airport serving Bangladesh's southeastern port city of Chittagong. Operated and maintained by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, it is the second largest airport in Bangladesh. It is also used by the Bangladesh Air Force. It was formerly known as MA Hannan International Airport, named after Awami League politician M. A. Hannan, but was renamed on 2 April 2005 by the government of Bangladesh, after an Islamic saint Hazrat Shah Amanat.

The airport is capable of annually handling 1.5 million passengers and 6,000 tonnes of cargo.[2] The airport is served by nine passenger airlines which connect the airport internationally with few Middle Eastern cities, Bangkok, Kolkata and Kuala Lumpur; along with domestic flights to Dhaka. Emirates SkyCargo and Etihad Cargo offer freighter flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Location

The airport is located in the Patenga area of the city, 20 kilometres (13 mi; 11 NM) west from the city's main commercial hub, GEC Circle and 18.5 km south of the city's railway station on the north bank of the Karnaphuli River. There are no hotels or restaurants near the airport, however numerous hotels and restaurants are available in the city.

History

World War II

The airfield was built in the early 1940s under the British rule. Known as Chittagong Airfield during World War II, the airport was used as a combat airfield, as well as a supply point and photographic reconnaissance base by the United States Army Air Forces Tenth Air Force during the Burma Campaign 1944-1945.[3]

Known American units assigned to Chittagong were:

From the airport, the 4th CCG C-46's flew supplies and ammunition which were air-dropped to the advancing Allied forces on the ground. At the end of June, control of the airport was returned to local authorities.

A 30 Squadron Thunderbolt II taking off from Chittagong, 1944.

Bangladeshi airport

It officially became a Bangladeshi airport in 1972 after Bangladesh's liberation war.[4] At first, it was mainly used for connecting Dhaka and Chittagong, but in the mid-1990s Biman started international flights to Dubai and a few Saudi Arabian cities and the airport officially became an international airport.

1998–2000 renovation and expansion

In March 1998, a major renovation and expansion began at the airport, which ended in December 2000.[4] CAAB received financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the US$51.57 million upgrade.[4] The project was carried out by Japanese firms Shimizu & Marubeni.[4]

The upgrade modernised the terminal with new and better seats, more check-in counters, better security equipment and other facilities.[4] The Air Traffic Control tower also received new hi-tech equipment such as 3D radars. The runway, taxiways and the tarmac were expanded and improved.[4]

After the upgrade, aircraft such as the Boeing 747-400 or the Airbus A340 can land easily at the airport.[4]

Thai Airways International deal

In June 2005, CAAB announced that the management of the airport would be awarded to Thai Airways International, the national carrier of Thailand, for a period of 10 years.[2] Thai Airways would be responsible of catering, passenger check-in, ground handling, cargo handling, and other technical services.[5] However, the deal was later scrapped, as Thai Airways withdrew from the project, because CAAB kept delaying the handover due to opposition by airport workers, political circles and Biman unions.[2]

2010s

Emirates SkyCargo launched cargo services in 2013, making it the first scheduled cargo airline in the airport.[6]

Infrastructure and operation

Departures area

Terminal

The airport's sole 220,000 square feet (20,000 m2) passenger terminal is divided into two parts: International and Domestic with a boarding bridge in each.[4] The International part of the terminal is larger than the Domestic one due to higher number of passengers.[4] The building is also divided into two floors: The lower floor is used for checking in, boarding or getting off small planes and receiving luggage while the upper floor is used for boarding or getting off large planes only.[4]

The airport also has a 29,063 square feet (2,700 m2) cargo terminal.[4]

Control tower

The airport's air traffic control tower is 50 meters west of the airport terminal. It has a clear view of the tarmac and taxiways but is far from the runway. Heavy rain or fog can make it difficult for controllers to see planes taking off or landing.

Runway

The airport has a single runway (05/23), which is 2,940 m × 45 m (9,646 ft × 148 ft).[4] The largest aircraft that can land in the airport is a Boeing 747-400.[4]

Taxiways and tarmac

The airport has two taxiways, Alpha and Bravo, that directly leads to the tarmac, or aircraft parking zone, from the runway. The tarmac can accommodate a maximum of four aircraft; two wide-body Boeing 747-400s, a wide-body McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and a narrow-body Airbus A320 can be parked there at once.[4] The airport has two boarding bridges and two passenger steps. The parking points are usually empty as most of the planes that arrive there takeoff soon after and the planes of local airlines are generally parked at Shahjalal International Airport overnight. A small civil plane hangar belonging to Biman is available but is rarely used.

The Bangladesh Military has a parking zone and two plane hangars east of the runway. The Bangladesh Air Force store a few planes here which have direct access to the runway.

Airlines and destinations

Passenger

Regent Airways Bombardier Dash-8-Q300 at the tarmac in 2011.
Defunct airline GMG Airlines Dash 8–300 at the airport in 2009.
Airlines Destinations
Air Arabia Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Abu Dhabi, Dhaka, Doha,1 Dubai-International, Jeddah, Kuwait,1 Muscat
flydubai Dubai-International
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur
Novoair Dhaka
Oman Air Muscat
Regent Airways Dhaka, Kolkata, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi
United Airways Dhaka, Kolkata
US-Bangla Airlines Dhaka

^1 Only inbound flights.

Cargo

Airlines Destinations
Emirates SkyCargo Dubai-Al Maktoum
Etihad Cargo Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Guangzhou[7]

Ground transportation

The airport can be easily accessed by car or taxi thorough the city's Agrabad area. Shah Amanat airport has three parking zones, one civil and two VIP. The civil one is located just in front of the terminal, it has a capacity of 400 cars.[4] This zone is usually loaded with public transport, mostly auto-rickshaws and micro-buses. The zone is made of concrete and asphalt, surrounded by a grass patch. Both VIP parking zones are located beside the terminal, one left and one right. The one on the left is for people who work at the airport or one of the airlines that use the airport, such as pilots or air traffic controllers. The other is used by the VVIPs.

Incidents and accidents

  • 1 July 2005: Biman flight BG 048 en route from Dubai skidded off runway 23 onto the grass at Shah Amanat International Airport while landing during heavy rain. The right-hand undercarriage of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 caught fire. Ten passengers were injured while exiting the aircraft. Investigations found that the wheel-box of the aircraft went out of order. The aircraft was later written-off.[8]
  • 10 September 2008: A bomb hoax on Air Arabia flight 522 caused red alert at the airport. A flight attendant found a note on the plane saying "There is a bomb set", the captain alerted Air Traffic control for a possible emergency and received high-priority landing status at the airport. The plane was taken to the military zone of the airport where it was searched by bomb experts but no bomb was found. Later, all 81 passengers were asked to provide a handwriting sample and security officials arrested a Bangladeshi man who later confessed his crime.
  • 1 March 2012: A fire broke out on the second floor of the terminal building at around 4 pm. No injuries or casualties were reported. Airport fire brigade managed to douse the flame by 6 pm. The fire had severely damaged the second floor of the terminal disabling the two jet bridges forcing airport authorities to bring out the reserve portable ones. Several flights including 4 international ones had to be delayed, grounding several aircraft at the airport and diverting a few other. As many as 2000 passengers had to wait for several hours at the parking lot for their flight.[9]
  • 2 November 2013: Air Arabia flight 522, operated by an Airbus A320-200, made an emergency landing due to a bird strike, after leaving for Sharjah. All aboard were unhurt.[10]
  • 30 May 2014: Air Arabia flight 524 bound for Sharjah, operated by an Airbus A320-200, suffered from cabin pressurization problems 45 minutes after taking off. The aircraft returned to Chittagong, making a safe emergency landing. The same aircraft made the flight two hours later, after the problems with the aircraft were fixed.[11]

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ "Aerodrome Information: Shah Amanat International Airport, Chittagong". Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh. 
  2. ^ a b c "SAIA needs proper facilities to harness it's potential & to get out of trouble". Bangladesh Monitor. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Chittagong Airport Development Project". Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Thai Airways International to manage Chittagong Airport". ASIATravelTips.com. 2 July 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Emirates SkyCargo commences dedicated freighter to Chittagong". Bangladesh Monitor. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Etihad Cargo Schedule
  8. ^ "Biman escapes possible crash-landing in Chittagong". 9 July 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Fire at Ctg airport
  10. ^ 161 passengers escape unhurt at Shah Amanat airport
  11. ^ Aircraft makes emergency landing in Chittagong

External links