This abandoned ghost airport in India cost $17 million to build

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Located in northwestern India, Jaisalmer Airport was completed more than two years ago at a cost of $17 million. At a time when the spanking new facility should be welcoming hundreds of thousands of passengers per year, it sits abandoned. In fact, the airport has yet to operate a single day.

According to Reuters, Jaisalmer is one of more than 200 no-frills airports planned by India’s previous government. They were meant to encourage travel and commerce in far-flung parts of the Indian subcontinent.

However, in many cases, local political greed won out over reason and airports were placed in locations where there simply isn’t enough demand for air travel to warrant a full-scale airport.

In fact, Jaisalmer is one of eight airports the Indian government has constructed over the past decade at a cost of more than $50 million to have never entered service, Reuters reports.

Why aren’t airports such as Jaisalmer in business?

According to Reuters, one reason is because airlines can’t open routes to these small, underdeveloped areas. The domestic Indian market is incredibly competitive, and for a route to have any chance of profitability, it has to either fly to or from one of the country’s megacities.

This means that in order for an airline to open a route to Jaisalmer, it has to originate in a major hub, such as Delhi or Mumbai. However, airports in these cities are incredibly congested and the precious space at these facilities is prioritized for more profitable destinations. As a result, the less populated locales remain perpetually underserved.

Here’s closer look at India’s brand new ghost airport.


Jaisalmer is located near the Pakistani border in the province of Rajasthan.

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Screenshot via Google Maps

It’s a desert town known for its tourism and natural beauty. However, it’s also sparsely populated.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

According to the Economic Times, the airport was supposed to open for business in August 2013.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Economic Times.


But it never did.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Today, the abandoned Jaisalmer Airport sits as a reminder of the massive waste caused by poorly planned development.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Here’s what the airport looks like today.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

The arrival and departure lanes are empty. They should be filled with buses, cars, and taxis.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

This door leads to the check-in area.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

No tourists here.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

This baggage carousel sits idle.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

As are these baggage carts.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

No one has ever used these dusty seats.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

These dusty bathroom sinks are also brand new.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Outside, the desert environment is taking its toll on the airport.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

The roads are in poor condition.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

The solar panels stand dormant.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

The airport’s only visitor on this day is a stray dog.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Bones from a dead animal sit on a road leading to the airport.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Someone mounted satellite dishes to the outer wall of the airport.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

However, Jaisalmer Airport is not beyond saving. In fact, from afar, it looks like quite a nice facility.

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REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee