|Operator||Airports Authority of India|
|Serves||Belgaum, Karnataka, India|
|Elevation AMSL||2,287 ft / 758 m|
Belgaum Airport (IATA: IXG, ICAO: VOBM) is an airport serving Belgaum, a city in the Indian state of Karnataka. Because of its location in the village of Sambra, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) east of Belgaum, the airport is also known as the Sambra airport. The new terminal building was inaugurated by Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on 14 September 2017. The airport is also home to an Indian Air Force station at which new recruits to the military receive basic training.
Built in 1942 by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Belgaum Airport is the oldest airport in North Karnataka. The RAF used the airport as a training site during World War II, providing support to the South East Asia Command. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took control of the airport in 1956, followed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 1962. During the 1990s, Belgaum Airport was served by five passenger airlines: East-West Airlines, Gujarat Airways, Indian Airlines, NEPC Airlines and Vayudoot. All airlines ended flights to the airport by the end of the decade.
Belgaum Airport saw the return of commercial flights in 2003, with Air Deccan providing service from Bangalore. Air Deccan also flew to Kolhapur and Mumbai for some time. After Air Deccan completed its merger with Kingfisher Airlines in 2008, Kingfisher decided to end flights to Belgaum in June 2009 citing low occupancy. Nevertheless, expansion plans for Belgaum Airport were launched in 2010, when the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Government of Karnataka signed a memorandum of understanding. Kingfisher returned in January 2011 with daily flights from Mumbai, but it exited the market in November 2011 amid its own financial difficulties. SpiceJet arrived at Belgaum in November 2012  with flights from Bangalore and later added direct flights to Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad after Belgaum airport was expanded in September 2017. Spicejet served the airport till May 2018. This came after Hubballi airport was nominated under UDAN scheme. Spicejet shifted all its operations to Hubballi which it operated from Belgavi. After this, several Belgaum based news agencies like Allaboutbelgaum.com and political leaders of the region protested Spicejet's move through saveIXG campaign. Airport came into operation again after Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India began flight services to Bangalore from July 11, 2018. This was a thrice a week flight operated by ATR 72 type aircraft. Air India began service to Bengaluru with its Airbus A319 aircraft from 10 August 2018 on remaining 4 days of the week thus connecting Belgaum with Bengaluru all 7 days in the week. Also this was the first arrival of Airbus A319 in Belgavi ever with first flight bagging 68 % load factor.
In 2013, the Central Government cleared the expansion project. Work began in February 2015 at a cost of Rs 120 crore and took over two and a half years. It involved extension of the runway, construction of a new isolation bay, taxiway, apron for three A-320 aircraft and a new 22.5 metre tall ATC tower. The expanded facilities were formally inaugurated on 14 September 2017 and AAI commissioned the new terminal and apron on 16 October 2017.
In November 2018, Belgaum Airport was nominated under UDAN-3 scheme and it is expected that some airline may bid for nearby routes in coming days. Belgaum has immense potential to grab market for Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai routes under this scheme.
Terminal and airfield
A new terminal building was inaugurated on 14 September 2017 as part of the airport expansion project. The terminal building is spread over 3,600 square metres and has a capacity to accommodate over 300 passengers. It has two baggage conveyor belts and six check-in counters. It has an apron for parking of three Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft. The old apron has two parking stands designed for the ATR 72 and similar aircraft. There are also two additional aprons, one on the north side of the runway that serves as an isolation bay and one on the south side. These aprons are each connected by single taxiways to runway 08/26, which measures 1,830 by 45 metres (6,004 ft × 148 ft). A 470-metre (1,540 ft) extension of the runway has been completed.
Airlines and destinations
|Star Air||Bangalore (begins 6 February 2019) |
Air Force Station
Built by and originally under the control of the Royal Air Force, the Special Reserve Police of Karnataka took over the air base in 1948. The air force station was a major base of air operations during Operation Vijay in 1961. Two years later, No. 1 Ground Training School at Jalahalli was moved to the base and renamed Administrative Training Institute (ATI) in 1980. In 2001, the ATI was renamed Airmen Training School (ATS). The focus of the base turned to providing Joint Basic Phase Training (JBPT) through the Basic Training Institute. JBPT is designed to teach recruits military values and orient them towards a life in the military.
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