The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) – the airport that introduced the path breaking concept of public-private partnership in India’s aviation sector — is all set to achieve another milestone. On May 25, CIAL will celebrate 15 years of operations.

From a project initiated in a remote village of Nedumbassery on the city outskirts, it has now grown leaps and bounds to earn a place in the global aviation map. Starting on an initial cost of Rs.283 crore, the company achieved its break within four years, and recorded a cumulative annual growth rate of 20 per cent in the initial eight years and 12 per cent thereafter.

The airport — a pioneering venture in attracting NRI investment in infrastructure development — has improved upon its infrastructure. It has now mooted a development plan that targets to achieve a turnover of Rs.3,000 crore by 2023 - with 20 per cent aero revenue, 30 per cent non-aero revenue and 50 per cent non-aviation revenue.

As part of it, the airport unveiled an ambitious expansion plan by going for a state-of-the-art modern international terminal to keep pace with its growing status and ever increasing passenger traffic. To be set up at an investment of over Rs.800 crore, the new terminal will have a built-up area of 15 lakh sq. ft with a peak hour capacity to handle 4,000 passengers, as against the present capacity of 1,200 passengers.

Similarly, it also seeks to augment its non-aviation income by offering consultancy services and is already in the race for developing a couple of airports including Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Jaipur, officials said.

The airport, with an average of 900 take-offs per week and annual average passenger traffic of around 4.8 million, has over 20 airlines operating from there, both domestic and international. It is still in the process of following up new airlines, especially from the Europe and the U.S.

In the last fiscal ended on March 2013, the company posted a net profit of around Rs.111 crore against the Rs.102 crore in the previous period. During the year, passenger traffic through here touched 5 million and recorded a passenger growth of 11.49 per cent and 7.8 per cent growth in the international and domestic sectors.

The airport company is also keen on expanding its footprint beyond airport development and has planned to diversify its area of operations.

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