The project for a new terminal building at Guwahati’s Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport was inaugurated last week. It is managed by Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The government has invested ₹1,232 crores in the new terminal that is expected to be operational by 2021. Spread over 90,000 sqm, it will be equipped to handle 3,100 passengers an hour. Facilities will include 64 check-in counters, 20 self-check-in kiosks, eight immigration counters, eight custom counters, six arrival carousels, and 16 self-baggage drop counters.

Currently, Guwahati airport covers about 656 acres, and has one terminal, which is the busiest and most important airport in Northeast India. The only non-stop international flight that takes off from here is to Bangkok by Drukair, a Bhutan-owned airline. Other airlines connecting Guwahati to the rest of the country are AirAsia India, Air India, Alliance Air, GoAir, IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Vistara.

Recently, the government announced plans to make Guwahati the centre for UDAN. It is the airport hub for India’s northeast regions and aims to be the Indian aviation hub for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

Sarbanada Sonowal, the chief minister of Assam said, “Guwahati, the largest city of Assam and Northeast India, and one of the fastest growing cities in India is on its way to transform into a ‘Smart City’. The new airport being constructed by AAI will surely meet the futuristic demands of Guwahati and will further add to the infrastructural development of this expanding city.”

Guwahati is one of the 100 cities selected for the government’s Smart Cities Mission to develop them into sustainable and citizen-friendly destinations.

A press release by AAI shares its plans on how the airport will reflect the region’s heritage, as well as be environment-friendly: “The interiors of the building will depict local handicrafts, murals and popular tourist destinations of Assam. The new terminal building will conform to GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) 4-Star rating. The city side of the building will be aesthetically landscaped with lush green areas. It will have green areas within and outside connecting passengers to nature. A small internal forest feature, bamboo artefact and a craft village are integrated into the overall design, highlighting the rich ethos and culture of the Northeastern region of India. An efficient solid waste management system, reuse of treated water for flushing and horticulture purpose, rain-water harvesting with sustainable urban drainage system and use of efficient water fixtures would be a few other green features of the project.”