The Airports Authority of India, AAI, has said it requires 478.1 acres land for phase 1 of the Ayodhya airport, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The state government has informed that they have earmarked Rs 525.92 crore for acquiring the land so far, he said, adding that the requirement is based on an assessment of the existing Ayodhya airport by AAI's multi-disciplinary team which visited the city in December last year.
"The pre-feasibilty study was done so the airport can handle wide-bodied aircrafts. The airport is suitable for development in two phases, with the expected rise in passenger traffic in Ayodhya," Mr Puri said, adding that the timeline for start and completion of the project depends on factors such as land acquisition, clearances, financial closure.
Last week, in an e-meeting with Mr Puri Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had extended his "full support" to all airport-related development work.
It is targeted that the Ayodhya Ram Temple, whose groundbreaking ceremony was done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 5, can be completed by 2024.
The temple is likely to elevate Ayodhya as an international religious destination, and the Yogi Adityanath government plans to capitalize on this to generate employment by creating supporting infrastructure, including a new railway station and upgrading the national highway.
Despite dominating politics in north India for decades, Ayodhya had been a sleepy little town. As of now, it has one airstrip for use by VIPs.