Surat International Airport Terminal Operating Without BCAS Floor Plan Approval!

RTI reply from BCAS Ahmedabad revealed that the approved floor plan of Surat International Airport new terminal is still under clearance and, therefore, cannot be shared


SURAT, GUJARAT : The Surat International Airport is currently grappling with substantial challenges in obtaining authorization for the floor plan of its extended terminal building from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). BCAS, which is responsible for establishing security criteria for civil aircraft at both domestic and international airports in India, has yet to approve the floor design. This delay raises concerns about the airport’s compliance with crucial security guidelines.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the extended section of Surat International Airport on December 17, 2023. Despite the high-profile launch, foreign visitors still face a lack of adequate food, drink, and retail options in the international departure area, even six months post-inauguration. To temporarily address this, a 10×10 foot stall has been set up with permission for three months to provide food and beverages to passengers in the departure area.

A recent response to a Right to Information (RTI) reply from BCAS Ahmedabad revealed that the approved floor plan of Surat International Airport new terminal is still under clearance and, therefore, cannot be shared. This situation has sparked serious questions about the security and safety measures of the Surat Airport terminal construction. Given the expectations associated with an airport inaugurated by the Prime Minister, known for his commitment to fast and secure project completions, the operational state of the airport without an approved floor plan is particularly concerning.

The situation has led to rising doubts about whether the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) misled the public regarding the airport’s readiness and the status of mandatory clearances at the time of inauguration. Additional issues surfaced when it was disclosed that the Prime Minister was not shown the official Master Plan 2035 for Surat Airport, which includes an integrated terminal complex and a proposed 3810-meter parallel runway. Instead, he only saw the terminal building and the existing 2910-meter runway. The Master Plan 2035 was not presented to the PMO due to an investigation by the PMO into the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) and subsequently the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which found no plans to expand Surat Airport at its current location.

The ongoing delay in floor plan approval has highlighted potential basic design flaws in global passenger movement. Reports suggest that AAI Surat and AAI Delhi have inadequately responded to ongoing BCAS inquiries, further complicating the issue.

Surat airport activists have expressed their concerns in a letter to AAI chairman Sanjeev Kumar, demanding a response regarding the pending floor plan approval at the BCAS Ahmedabad office. One activist stated, “The floor plan approval of the terminal building at Surat International Airport is yet to be approved by BCAS, citing design flaws. Without BCAS approval, how is the terminal building operational? Passengers traveling to international destinations from Surat are facing difficulties as there are no food and retail outlets at the airport.”

Efforts to contact Vikram Singh Meena, Joint Director of BCAS Ahmedabad, for comments were unsuccessful as he was reportedly in a meeting. Even the Surat airport director was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.