NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh will get another international airport on Wednesday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates one at Kushinagar — an important pilgrim city for Buddhists. An international airport will facilitate visits of international pilgrims. The inaugural flight will land in Kushinagar from Colombo with 125 dignitaries and Buddhist monks. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has developed the Kushinagar airport with a new Rs 260-crore terminal building spread across 3,600 sqm. The new terminal can handle 300 passengers per hour. Kushinagar is an international Buddhist pilgrimage centre and a central point of the Buddhist circuit — Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya. The place is known for Buddha’s last sermon and and one where he had attained mahaparinirvana (salvation) in 483 BC. “Direct aviation connectivity with South Asian countries will make it easier for tourists arriving from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore to reach Kushinagar and experience the rich heritage of the region. Tourism inflow is expected to rise by up to 20% (following direct air connectivity). The Kushinagar International Airport will not only put the pilgrimage site on the international aviation map, but also help boost the economic development of the region,” a government statement said.

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