Airports Authority of India (AAI) has proposed to develop the IAF airport at Bihta as new airport for international operations and has taken up the matter with Defence Ministry as well as the Bihar government, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.AAI has requested for additional 600 acres land for the first phase of the project and 790 acres for the second phase in lieu of existing Patna airport, he said. Also Read – I-T issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cashBesides, AAI has prepared master plans for development of Raxaul and Muzaffarpur airstrips in Bihar. In this regard, AAI has requested the state government to provide additional land, removal of obstructions and diversion of road in the approach funnel, Sharma said.There are 28 airstrips/aerodromes in Bihar, out of which five airports — Gaya, Patna, Jogbani, Muzaffarpur and Raxaul — are owned by AAI. Among the five, only Patna and Gaya airports are operational. Also Read – Lanka launches ambitious tourism programme to woo Indian touristsIn another written reply, the minister said that Bihar government has submitted a proposal for handing over 6.37 acres of land to AAI for expansion of Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport at Patna. This would cost about Rs 114.66 crore.“However, AAI has requested the state government to provide the said land free of cost and free from all encumbrances, as per the general practice for development of airports,” Sharma said.In a separate written reply, he said AAI found that there are operational constraints for setting up an airport at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The viability of a site in Lumla village for aircraft operations was examined by AAI.“In the pre-feasibility study, AAI has found that there are operational constraints at the proposed site and communicated the same to the state government,” he said.