Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (IATA: NAG, ICAO: VANP) is a customs airport serving the city of Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. It was named after Bharat Ratna Dr. "Babasaheb" Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution in 2005. The Airport handles around 4,000 passengers per day and caters to 6 Domestic Airlines and 1 International Airline connecting Nagpur to Sharjah and 12 domestic destinations. The airport, spread over 1,460-acres, is also home to AFS Nagpur of the Indian Air Force and the Nagpur Flying Club.
This airport is slated to be the Multimodal International Hub Airport in India and development work started in 2005. The plan involves construction of a second runway, a new terminal building and a cargo complex through a build-operate-transfer basis. The Maharashtra Government had offered 400 hectares of land to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in exchange of 278 hectares of land at the airport currently occupied by Air Force Station, Nagpur.
The proposal has been agreed 'in principle' to by the IAF. This will help reducing the load on other busy airports in India by diverting the cargo and passenger traffic to Nagpur and will also make Nagpur city one among the most important business and economic centers in India and Asia.
The Airport was commissioned during the First World War in 1917-18. The old buildings at the airport were renovated during the Second World War, when it was used as a staging base. Due to brisk traffic at the airport new terminal buildings featuring facilities of refreshment, retiring rooms, rest-rooms, book stalls and visitor's galleries were constructed in 1953.
Sonegaon airport was the hub of the unique "Night Air Mail Service" wherein four planes left from Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras every night with a mail load from their region and returned to their home base in the early morning, after exchanging the mail at Nagpur. The service was operated from January 1949 until October 1973. Over the years its major traffic was civilian aircraft till the formation of 44 Wing and the transfer of the Il-76 military transport aircraft of the IAF in 2003.
Integrated Terminal Building
The New Integrated Terminal Building, a contemporary concrete, glass and steel structure, was inaugurated on 14 April 2008. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has extensively modified and upgraded the existing Terminal Building at the cost of INR79 crores to make it into a modern, world class Integrated Terminal Building.
The building covers an area of 17,500 square metres and has a capacity to handle 400 arriving and 400 departing domestic passengers and 150 arriving and 150 departing international passengers during peak hours. It has 2 conveyor belts each in Departure, the Domestic Arrival Hall and in the International Arrival Hall.
There are expansion plans for the current Nagpur Airport recently given greenlight by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. For Nagpur Airport project, it was resolved that Centre would move to exchange the necessary land with the State Government so that the work on this can begin immediately.