Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, has been endowed with a rich cultural heritage and an abundance of nature’s bounty. It is one of the rare tourist destinations that enjoys the feeling of being unspoilt. Raipur had also served as the headquarters of the former Chhattisgarh princely states division and was constituted a municipality in 1867. Raipur is home to the famous Chitrakote Falls also known as the mini-Niagara Falls of India. The city attracts a number of tourists with its numerous wildlife sanctuaries, such as the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, etc.
Other attractions in Raipur include the Mahant Ghasidas Memorial Museum which contains a stunning collection of items used by the different tribes of Chhattisgarh. The Doodhadhari Monastery is also quite popular with the tourists. To spend a quiet evening, one can head to the Budhapara Lake.
Connecting the world to this quaint town is the Swami Vivekananda Airport, which gives its patrons the chance to witness the local art and culture at the airport terminal itself. Apart from a pleasant travel experience, the airport proves to be a visual treat for the passengers too.
New Building Design
The Swami Vivekananda Airport gleamed with pride at the inauguration of the integrated terminal building in November 2012 by then Hon’ble President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. The new terminal building was designed to accommodate 700 passengers. The design of the new building emphasises on the vastness of space, the visual experience of the sky and a subtle landing on the ground with the terminal building acting as a catalyst integrating all three. Also to make the cargo services hassle free, the Common User Domestic Terminal was established in May 2016.
TAKING FEEDBACK SMARTLY
A smart device installed at the Raipur Airport collects feedback from the passengers related to airport services such as those at check-in, baggage claim, the food court, restrooms, security hold area and the overall experience. Simple push-button smiles marking from an excellent to a bad experience for a particular service are used as a medium for generating feedback. Consolidated feedback data is collected via a server, which helps the authorities to know the performance of the services provided by the Raipur Airport, further leading to improvement in services for the customer’s satisfaction and a better customer for them.
Raipur Airport acts as a gateway for air travellers to the state and its neighbouring areas. The Raipur Airport is located in the heart of the city at a distance of 16 km from the Raipur railway station and 14 km from the Pandri bus terminal. The airport is well connected through the Raipur and Naya Raipur BRTS network and cabs ply frequently providing easy conveyance to passengers travelling from the nearby cities of Raipur. Operating with low-cost airlines, the airport connects Raipur with Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Indore, Goa, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Lucknow, Patna and Bhopal. Under Phase I of the Regional Connectivity Scheme, there is a proposal to further connect Raipur with Jagdalpur, Jharsuguda and Ambikapur.
Passenger centric measures taken by Raipur Airport has yielded an increase of 16.6 per cent in the financial year 2017 as compared to 2016 in the number of passengers. Flight movements have also seen an increase of 10.8% in the year 2017 as compared to 2016.
In a welcome move to promote budding artists, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has conceptualised an art gallery at the terminal building. The art-inclined initiative provides passengers exposure to the rich culture and handicraft heritage of Chhattisgarh. It also facilitates a platform for the local craftspeople, providing them a premium display space for their artistic expression without any charges.
Injecting a local flavour in the ambience of the airport, an art gallery was inaugurated on November 1, 2018 with the native artist Latika Vaishnav’s “Strokes from the Jungle” Bastar painting exhibition, which beautifully captured the folklore of Bastar. It was followed by the Jan Saamarthya Welfare Society’s charitable work uplifting the art of differently-abled people, displaying their paintings and crafts. The art gallery even witnessed live portrait sketching and mehndi art sessions by these notable artists.
The Raipur Airport showcases Bastar art in different areas of the terminal building. The art inside the airport premises captures the state’s distinct culture. Wall hangings of Bastar crafts grace homes the world over, attracting the attention of art enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Bastar artefacts usually depict the rural lifestyle of the tribal community, including pastoral scenes with the farmer as the focal point.
NATURE’S OWN AIRPORT
Raipur Airport has taken several initiatives to be eco-friendly, such as:
- A 200 KLD (Kilo Litres Per Day) Sewer Treatment Plant (STP) has been set up to convert solid waste into manure which is further used for horticultural purposes.
- Rainwater harvesting system inside the operational area.
- Commissioned Solar Power of 100 KW capacity integrated with the State power supply to get Carbon Credit.
- Provision of biodegradable wormy compost manure to collect, segregate and dispose of the solid waste.
Constant work is being done to improve passenger experience at the airport:
- Two additional stands have been constructed to meet rising air traffic.
- Three Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBB) have been built to provide better facilities to passengers.
- A new Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower is being constructed towards the south side of the runway to get a better view of the Apron and Operational area.
- A new Fire Station is being built with amenities for CATEGORY-8 Fire Fighting.
- A Mini Remote Operated Vehicle (MROV) is available for dealing with bomb threat contingencies.
- A Green wall with green potted plants was erected to improve air quality.
- High performance LED fittings are provided in air side, city side and Terminal buildings.
- Water taps are fitted with aerators to save on consumption of water.
Raipur Airport strives to improve passenger experience through constant growth and technological improvements. A proposal has already been made for the construction of a second runway parallel to the existing one. Futuristic telecommunication infrastructure will also be developed and installed at the airport in order to strengthen the telecommunication network. To make journeys easier, there is also a proposal for the installation of category-I approach lighting system on Runway 24 for pilots to use at night and in low visibility conditions. To accommodate increasing passenger traffic, plans are being devised to expand the existing New Apron with the construction of four additional parking stands and taxiways.