While welcoming the Centre’s move to declare Tiruchi and Coimbatore airports as ‘international’ along with three others, the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for extending the status to the Madurai Airport as well.
In a statement issued here, chamber senior president S. Rethinavelu said that the Madurai Airport, which recently got its first international flight to Colombo, had a Rs. 130 crore new terminal. The runway is also set to be extended to 12,500 feet as the State Government was in the process of acquiring 610 acres for the Airport Authority of India. The extended runway will accommodate jumbo jets that transport heavy cargo. The Madurai Airport, he said, satisfied all the parameters for a top class airport.
He quoted studies that revealed that a majority of the foreign-bound passengers from Chennai and Tiruchi were from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. As such, Madurai Airport should be include in the bi-lateral airport services treaties with foreign countries, which was a prerequisite for all airliners with the exception of the State-run Air India.
The trade body urged the Members of Parliament and Union Ministers from south Tamil Nadu impress upon the Union Government the need to confer international airport status to Madurai and include the airport in bi-lateral airport services treaties with foreign countries.
The Chamber has thanked Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for increasing corpus fund of Tamil Nadu Traders Welfare Board to Rs. 5 crore from the earlier Rs. 2 crore. The Government has been granting financial assistance to traders who are members of the Board through various schemes in recognition of the business community’s contribution to the State through various taxes.
Mr. Rethinavelu urged the Chief Minister to consider implementing a pension scheme for traders similar to the one being implemented in Kerala.