Imagine the six hours arduous drive from Paro to Phuentsholing coming down to a few minutes of smooth flying. Imagine also the five hour journey from Siliguri to Phuntsholing cut-down to a few minutes.
This is what the Phuentsholing Thromde envisions for a better Phuentsholing.
The airport site has been identified at the Kalayshor hill in Amochu, near the Indian border. Although, it is too early to say as to how much land will be acquired, it will depend on the requirements that the consultants put up to the municipality.
The consultants on this project, IL&FS or Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services from India are working on the airport plan as a part of the larger Amochu township project.
“We will provide how much ever land is required from the existing 770 acre that is planned for the town,” said the Phuentsholing Thrompon, Tsheten Dorji.
According to the Thrompon, the plan was not to just have the Phuentsholing airport tie up with the three existing airports in Bhutan, but, to also include a route to Bagdogra in India.
The idea of an airport sprang up due to the existing transport problems in the border areas.
The Phuentsholing municipality had requested the DHI INFRA for a domestic airport to be incorporated in the Amochu township to not only enhance tourism but also to avoid the frequent strikes.
This idea was also supported by the stakeholders of the Amochu project; they explained that with the long distance and random strikes at the border, Bagdora airport was not a preferred or reliable option.
The stakeholders felt that with the airport they could compete with the neighboring border towns in tourism even if it is losing out in trade and services.
This airport as of now has been included in the Amochu Land Reclamation and Township Project. The project is based on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model, whereby DHI INFRA is the focal agency collaborating with the Phuentsholing Thromde.
The consultants will also be exploring and identifying potential investors for the airport project.