Panel led by Chief Minister to meet next week for detailed discussion on he proposed Aeropolis project to be created around the Thiruvananthapuram international airport

The government has entrusted the feasibility study for the proposed Aeropolis project to be created around the international airport here to Knight Frank India Ltd.

The firm was selected from the five, including majors in global advisory and audit services Mott Macdonald Pvt., L&T Ramboll, KPMG, and Ernst & Young, who had bid for carrying out the feasibility study. The agency was selected by an expert committee based on the presentations and the technical and financial bids.

Confirming this, Tom Jose, Principal Secretary (Aviation) and Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), told The Hindu here on Friday that the agency would be asked to complete the study and submit the report in 12 to 13 weeks.

The KSIDC is the nodal agency for the Aeropolis project, initiated by the State Planning Board on the basis of a proposal put forward by Airport Director V.N. Chandran, to develop the premier airport of the State into a multi-modal hub.

The same firm had carried out a study for the KSIDC for setting up a feeder airport in Wayanad.

A high-level committee chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will meet in the first week of September to discuss the project in detail. The meeting will debate the setting up of an airport-linked industrial base, consisting of small and medium enterprises manufacturing aircraft/aviation components, in the vicinity of the airport.

The Aeropolis, an inclusive growth concept, envisages economic intervention and creation of a common platform for all aviation-related activities of major industrial and information technology units in the vicinity of the airport.

The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility of Air India Charters has become fully operational in the vicinity of the airport, and ‘C’ checks of Boeing 737-800 aircraft of Air India Express have begun.

The Civil Aviation authorities have projected an investment to the tune of Rs.2,500 crore in the MRO by 2020, and want more land to set up auxiliary units to supply spares.

The Airports Authority of India and the project proponents want the multi-modal hub to be an integral part of the Aeropolis and to link the airport with five modes of transport — sea, rail, road, inland waterway, and air.

Official sources said the government was looking into the possibility of establishing a special purpose vehicle for the Aeropolis. The State Planning Board, the AAI team led by Mr. Chandran, and Minister for Health V.S. Sivakumar were all personally monitoring the project to set the ball rolling.