“Air links may be established between Varanasi, Kushinagar and Shrawasti, which are focal points of Buddhist tourists from several countries. Air-connectivity may also be considered between other religious centres, such as Chitrakoot and Faizabad,” an official associated with the study group said.
The study group, which comprises civil aviation secretary Ashok Chawla and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) chairman N Gokulram, has proposed to develop airstrips in the state and promote flying schools on a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
The UP government has already initiated the process of setting up flying academies in the state. Private flying institutes have been set up Aligarh, Faizabad, Kushinagar and Sultanpur. The government has also acquired land for construction of airstrips at Moradabad and Azamgarh. The country’s most prestigious flying school — Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademy (IGRUA) is situated in Rae Barelley district of UP.
“With large number of tourists, both international and domestic, visiting the state, the government may also consider setting up a university of higher learning for studies in aviation technology and related subjects in the state,” the official added.