Bhuj Airport

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Bhuj Airport
Bhuj Airport.JPG
Summary
Airport type Military/Public
Operator
Serves Bhuj
Location Bhuj, Kutchh District
Elevation AMSL 257 ft / 78 m
Coordinates 23°17′16″N 069°40′13″E / 23.28778°N 69.67028°E / 23.28778; 69.67028Coordinates: 23°17′16″N 069°40′13″E / 23.28778°N 69.67028°E / 23.28778; 69.67028
Map
BHJ is located in Gujarat
BHJ
BHJ
BHJ is located in India
BHJ
BHJ
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
05/23 8,205 2,501 Asphalt

Bhuj Airport (IATA: BHJICAO: VABJ) is a domestic airport located in Bhuj in the Kutch District of the state of Gujarat, India.

It is situated at an altitude of 257 feet (78 m) and occupies a total area of 832 acres (337 ha).[1] It is located 30 miles (48 km) from the Indo-Pakistan border.[2]

The airport was previously made up of two bunkers/buildings near the Bhuj Rudra Mata Air Force Base, with which it shares the runway. On one side of the passing road there was an Indian Airlines bunker, and on the other side a Jet Airways bunker. From there a coach would transport passengers across the Indian Air Force grounds to the small departures terminal.[3][4]

History[edit]

The airstrip was destroyed in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, in air strikes in which Pakistani bombers dropped napalm bombs. The airfield was raided 35 times in 14 days with attacks by 92 bombs and 22 rockets.[5] It was rebuilt during wartime by a group of 300 women from the nearby village of Madhapar who were given 72 hours to complete the task. Later the Government of India honoured these women with a cash prize of 50,000.[6]

Infrastructure[edit]

The airport has a single terminal that handles all arrivals and departures.[7] The terminal can handle 350 passengers at a time.[8] The airport has 71,920 square feet (6,682 m2) area on the ground floor and 14,880 square feet (1,382 m2) on the first floor. It has two boarding gates and has the capacity for up to 200 people arriving and 200 people departing. There are four check-in counters and one security counter. There is one entry gate and one x-ray baggage scanner provided by the AAI.[1]

The airport can handle aircraft up to the size of an Airbus A320, while the apron can accommodate two Boeing 737-800 aircraft at the same time.[8] There is also a permanent helipad located at Bhuj Airport.[9]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

A Jet Airways Boeing 737 at Bhuj Airport
Airlines Destinations
Alliance Air Mumbai
Jet Airways Delhi, Mumbai

Renaming[edit]

In 2005, then Member of Parliament from Kutch, Pushpdan Gadhavi, as well as Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, made a request to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to rename the airport after revolutionary freedom fighter Shyamji Krishna Varma. Then Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel turned down the request, stating that foreigners might not be able to find the airport if it was named after someone.[10]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

The airport was damaged in the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and was renovated at a cost of 400 million. The renovated terminal was dedicated in 2003 by then Deputy Prime Minister of India, Lal Krishna Advani.[11][10]

The original ATC tower was destroyed in the earthquake and an ad hoc terminal was set up for rescue operations. It was manned by three officers of the Indian Air Force and handled as many as 800 takeoffs and landings in a four-day window.[12] The runway itself was damaged but was repaired within hours to allow flights to land by the afternoon of 26 January itself. Equipment was flown in from places like Chandigarh and the injured were flown out to places like Pune.[3][13] The Air Force flew helicopters into Bhuj and Jamnagar for evacuation as well as set up medical camps.[14] Freight planes carrying mobile hospitals, generators, tents, and water purifiers from the United States, and blankets from Pakistan, were also flown in.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Technical Information-Bhuj". Airports Authority of India. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Burns, John (4 February 2001). "The Quake's Silent Ally: A Hidebound Bureaucracy". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Gujarat (Kutch) India M7.7 Earthquake of January 26, 2001 and Napa M5.2 Earthquake of Sept. 3, 2000: Lifeline Performance. ASCE Publications. 2001. pp. 130, 145. ISBN 9780784475065. 
  4. ^ Bhatkal, Satyajit (2002). The Spirit of Lagaan. Popular Prakashan. p. 104. ISBN 9788179910030. 
  5. ^ Sagar, Krishna Chandra (1997). The War of the Twins. Northern Book Centre. p. 212. ISBN 8172110820. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Women rebuilt Bhuj airstrip destroyed in '71 Pak attack". The Times of India. Bhuj. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Bhuj Airport Information". Jet Airways. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Crusing Heights" (PDF). Chapter 34. Airports Authority of India. April 2011. p. 35. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Co-Ordinates of various helipad -Kutch Helipad". Directorate of Civil Aviation, Government of Gujarat. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Kaushik, Himanshu (5 November 2005). "Row over renaming of Bhuj airport". The Times of India. Ahmedabad. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "Terror attacks will hinder peace initiative: Advani". The Times of India. Bhuj. 4 September 2003. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Jain, Sonu (1 February 2001). "How three men control India's busiest airport this week". The Indian Express. Bhuj. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  13. ^ R, Venkatesh; Praveen Swami (3 February 2001). "THE KILLER EARTHQUAKE". Frontline. Ahmedabad. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "INDIAN AIR FORCE : TOUCHING THE SKY WITH GLORY". Press Information Bureau. 8 October 2001. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Earthquake survivors seek food and shelter". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 

External links[edit]