But no takers for running restaurant inside new terminal building
The long-pending demand of air passengers flying through Madurai airport to Colombo and Dubai is all set to be fulfilled with an individual having come forward to run a duty-free shop inside the new terminal building.
According to a highly placed source, Airport Director K. Sangiah Pandian was also convinced of the credentials of the individual, and has recommended his name to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The shop will be inaugurated immediately after obtaining clearance.
“We are fully aware of the eagerness of the passengers, travel agents and trade bodies to get the duty-free shop inaugurated at the earliest. Steps are underway to get the shop established as early as possible,” the source said on Monday.
However, there were no takers for running a restaurant inside the terminal building though the AAI had spent around Rs.1 lakh in the last two years for issuing newspaper advertisements repeatedly, calling for tenders from interested hoteliers.
As of now, only a snacks stall, a bookshop and a kiosk to sell ‘Madurai Malli,’ a jasmine variety, were functioning inside the terminal building.
The demand for a restaurant is gaining momentum ever since the introduction of a daily night flight to Dubai.
C. Arul Vadivel, a frequent flyer between Madurai and Chennai, said the airport here badly needed aerobridges – corridors connecting the terminal building to the aircraft.
The delay in setting up the bridges was causing hardship to the elderly and the physically challenged.
“The airline operators are now forced to bus their passengers between the terminal building and the aircraft parking bay even in inclement weather. Many aged passengers find it difficult to board and alight from the mini buses. This could be avoided if aerobridges are put in operation,” he said.
However, airport officials said in-principle approval had already been granted for establishing two aerobridges after a safety study report was forwarded to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
The delay was only in receiving the equipment required for setting them up.
“Once the equipment arrive, the bridges will be set up in no time. We are working with a target of putting them in operation by April,” an officer said.