It would be a wise decision if government lease out the unutilised airports to the private sector. Reportedly, lands of half a dozen of such domestic airports are being grabbed by encroachers. The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), which is mandated by law to own, maintain and run the country's international and domestic airports, also faces fund constraint to maintain these useless airports. A positive decision in this regard will make some beneficial use of these fallow lands as well as increase the state revenue.
But there is a need to prepare concrete and best possible proposals on a broader economic perspective to maximise the benefits from this leasing. It has been learnt that the officials are considering to lease the airport lands to the export processing zones or private parties only for industrial purposes. These airports can be used for twin purpose as a facility for setting up EPZs for the foreign investors as well as partly airports from where they would be able to send export consignments directly to their destinations. These may be also leased out to the private plane operators to increase their domestic flights or for use as specialised airports, for example for ferrying cargo. There may be other proposals carefully thought out by experts.
The prolonged non-use of the unutilised airports does not speak good about either CAAB or its guardian ministry. They should be no more tardy in taking an initiative. Rise up boys from long slumber.