Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday unveiled the foundation stone of the runway extension project of Cox’s Bazar airport, aiming to enable it to offer a longer range of domestic and international passenger services.
The prime minister inaugurated the construction work on the maritime runway, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has taken the Tk1,568.86 crore project to construct the country’s longest runway by extending the existing 9,000-foot runway by another 1,700 on the Bay of Bengal by reclaiming land from the sea.
Upon completion of the $185-million-project, all types of large aircraft will be able to take off and land on the maritime runway.
The CAAB signed a deal with the Chinese joint venture of Changjiang Yichang Waterway Engineering Bureau (CYWEB) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on February 9, 2021, to implement the crucial project.
Though the deadline to complete the construction of the project is May 10, 2024, steps have been taken to complete it by the end of 2023.
With the implementation of the project, the existing 9,000ft runway will be extended by 1,700 ft towards the Maheshkhali Channel.
On completion, the new 10,700-foot runway will allow much larger and wide-bodied aircraft like Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 747-400 to use the airport, paving the way for the smooth operation of international flights.
The government in 2019 took the initiative to expand the runway to upgrade it to international standards and offer foreign holidaymakers hassle-free trips to the world’s longest unbroken sea beach.
The runway extension will be built by filling some parts of the sea on the Maheshkhali channel.
At first, geo tubes will be placed under the sea bed and then water will be removed through dredging. Later, the excavation process and sand filling activities will start.
Then, the excavated area will be layered with sand, followed by concrete blocks being placed. The next phase would be the sand layer layout for the runway.
There will then be a final layering process and pitch casting. This will create a runway and a dam to protect it from the sea. This will be followed by the decoration of the runway and the installation of indicator lights.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali, Secretary of the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Md Mokammel Hossain and Chairman of the CAAB Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman were present on the dais at the Cox’s Bazar airport.