The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has taken the Tk 15.69 billion (1568.86 crore) project to construct the country’s longest runway by extending the existing 9,000-foot runway by another 1,700 on the Bay of Bengal by reclaiming land from the sea.
Upon completion of the project, all types of large aircraft will be able to take off and land on the maritime runway.
CAAB signed a deal with the Chinese joint venture of Changjiang Yichang Waterway Engineering Bureau (CYWEB) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on 9 February 2021 to implement the crucial project.
The deadline to complete the construction of the project is 10 May, 2024. The authorities, however, said they have taken steps to complete the construction work by the end of 2023.
With the implementation of the project, the existing 9,000ft runway will be extended by 1,700 ft towards the Maheshkhali Channel.
On completion, the new 10,700-foot runway will allow much larger and wider aircrafts like Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 747-400 to use the airport, paving the way for the smooth operation of international flights.
The government, in 2019, took the initiative to expand the runway to upgrade it to international standards and offer foreign holidaymakers hassle-free trips to the world’s longest unbroken sea beach.
The runway extension will be built by filling some parts of the sea on the Maheshkhali channel.
At first geo-tubes will be placed under the sea bed and then water will be removed through dredging. Later, the excavation process and sand filling activities will start.
The excavated area will be layered with sand, followed by placing concrete blocks. The next phase would be the sand layer layout for the runway.
Then there will be a final layering process and pitch casting. This will create a runway and a dam to protect it from the sea. This will be followed by the decoration of the runway and installation of indicator lights.
State Minister for civil aviation and tourism Md Mahbub Ali was present at the Cox’s Bazar Airport.