New Delhi, Dec 23: India is all set to get its first runway on a ‘sea bridge’ soon, as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been given a nod to extend Lakshadweep’s Agatti Airport. The task will be carried out by building an RCC platform on the beach and shallow area which will allow bigger ATRs to operate to the island, a report claims.

Notably, the AAI had earlier planned of linking two adjacent islands for the purpose of extending the runway.

A senior AAI official, speaking to The Times of India, said,”There is a little bit of change in the plan due to environmental concerns.” He also informed that the entire project, of erecting pillars into the beach and shallow sea area and building RCC platform, is likely to cost about Rs 1,500 crore. “Once completed, the runway will be long enough for ATR-72 to operate. At present, only smaller turboprops operate there,” the official added.

As per the officials, the air fare (to and from Agatti) is on the higher side as the ATR-72 aircraft are running with load penalty and carry only maximum of 50 passengers with 15 kg of luggage. The runway on a ‘sea bridge’ will help in bringing the fares to affordable level.

Agatti could be India’s first runway-on-sea bridge. The same plan was considered for Juhu airport in Mumbai and Kullu but, could not be initiated as it wasn’t found suitable.