The government has taken up an ambitious project to extend the runway at Cox’s Bazar airport by reclaiming land from the sea.
Once completed, the new 10,700-foot runway will allow much larger aircraft to take off and land at the airport, paving the way for it to operate international flights.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to virtually inaugurate the construction work of the project on August 29.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) inked the deal for the project with the Chinese joint venture of Changjiang Yichang Waterway Engineering Bureau (CYWEB) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on February 9, 2021. The estimated cost of the project is Tk1,568.86 crore.
According to the project documents, the deadline to finish construction is May 10, 2024. However, a spokesperson for the contractor said they would be given additional commission if they could finish construction before November 14, 2023.
Under the agreement, the contractor will extend the existing 9,000ft runway by 1,700ft towards the Maheshkhali Channel through coastal land reclamation.
Representatives of the contractor said CYWEB-CCECC JV had mobilized personnel at the site immediately after the signing of the contract with CAAB. The detailed design and construction of temporary facilities, including a site office, road networks, jetty, and concrete batching plant had been substantially completed.
CAAB officials said the main construction work would begin after the prime minister laid the foundation stone of the project.
“The latest technology will be used to build a spectacular runway by reclaiming coastal land. It will include the installation of an airfield ground lighting system, installation of instrument landing systems, construction of safety walls and a bridge over the Bakkhali river,” officials said.
The project was approved by the government on November 4, 2018.
Md Mahbub Ali, minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism, said various development projects were underway to turn Cox’s Bazar into an international tourist destination. The runway extension project is one of the most crucial of these projects.
“The dream is to transform Cox’s Bazar Airport into an airline hub. People can directly visit Cox’s Bazar as a tourism destination once the extension is completed,” he added.