The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has geared up for commissioning the Rs.245.58-crore terminal complex at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and to shift international flight operations to the complex by the year end.

Almost 85 per cent of the 19-metre-tall three-storey terminal building, coming up facing the Parvathi Puthanar on the Chakka side, had been completed. "As things are moving, we are hopeful of commissioning the world-class terminal as announced in December", Airport Director Mr. N. Nagraj told The Hindu.

The complex is like a beehive with hundreds of workers engaged in the finishing works to meet the deadline. The flooring using raw silk granite and off white vitrified tiles had been completed. Work on the offices allocated for the 15 airlines and to the Customs, Immigration and the AAI in the complex had commenced.

Basically of tubular structure of elliptical geometry, the building has been constructed using modern construction materials and covered with heat-reflecting toughened glass. The building resembles an aircraft for those viewing if from the operational area as the arrival area had been given a tubular shape with windows.

Eco-friendly concepts had been used and Building Management system had been introduced. The apron and the air-conditioning plant had been completed. The buildings housing the hangar of the NCC and the Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy had been demolished as it is a hindrance to shoulders of the apron.

Civil works for the three aerobridges had been completed. The aerobridge equipment being procured from Indonesia is expected by the month end. Four parking bays, constructed at a cost of Rs.14.5 crore, had been linked to the existing 3,398-metre-long runway. As many as eight aircraft can be parked at a time.

The AAI had initially taken up the Rs.165 crore first phase of the terminal. It includes the Rs.115 crore building, apron and a car park on Parvathy Puthanar side which can accommodate 575 cars.

Later, the Rs.80.58-crore second phase of the project was also taken along with this. An additional 8,000 sq m floor area had been added with the extension of the building by 27 metres on Karali side and 40.5 metres on Chakkai side.

Fully funded by the AAI, the terminal complex will have a floor area of 23,299 square metres. The ground floor will have the Arrival and Departure lounges and VIP lounge. As many as 30 check-in counters had been provided. Two escalators and a panoramic lift had been provided to proceed to the first floor in addition to steps.

The first floor will house 14 counters of the immigration, the security hold area, passenger amenities, duty free shops and the elevated round VIP room. The mezzanine floor will house the offices of the operating airlines, AAI, Customs and other utilities.

The visitors can step into the ground floor of the building and see the passengers till they move to the security hold area in first floor. The visitor’s gallery had been avoided in the terminal.

‘The cost of the terminal has gone up and it will touch Rs. 300 crore on completion’, says General Manager AAI, Projects, Mr. V.K. Malhotra, who is heading the development works.

The KWA had ensured uninterrupted water supply. The hurdles for the Rs. 5 crore sewerage systems had to be overcome. The KSEB is to provide electricity from two sources to ensure uninterrupted power supply. The AAI has deposited Rs. 42 crore to the KSEB and is awaiting the connection through dedicated lines.

A new air traffic control tower had been proposed as the existing tower does not have a proper view of operational area. "The proposal is pending with the AAI headquarters’, the Director said.

The work on the Rs.21.73-crore approach road from the Chakkai-Enchakkal stretch of NH 47 bypass is on. The 170-metre-long and 30-metre-wide road will facilitate six-lane traffic to the complex. Ramps had been constructed by AAI to connect it to the car park.