Barricade between taxiway and runway brought down
With the Airports Authority of India (AAI) demolishing the barricade that separated the new taxiway and the existing runway, aircraft can now reach the new Rs.300-crore terminal awaiting commissioning at the airport here.
The eight parking bays, constructed at a cost of Rs.14.5 crore, have been integrated with the 3,398-metre-long runway. Aircraft can move through the taxiway and dock with the three aerobridges of the terminal complex on the Chakka side. Hence, flight operations can be started from the new terminal any day.
The barricades were erected as a security measure and to ensure hassle-free movement of flights when the round-the-clock work on the terminal began in full swing.
The Aviation Security Group of the Central Industrial Security Force that mans the airport had taken over the security of the apron and the terminal.
A top AAI official said the markings on the taxiway needed a fresh coat of paint before the flight operations could start. The authority was awaiting licence from the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for commencing the operations. The Union Civil Aviation Ministry had already given approval.
“As the State wants the Prime Minister to do the honours and since five months have elapsed after the terminal was ready for commissioning, the Ministry is of the view that operations should commence and that the official inauguration can follow. Since the model code of conduct for the local bodies election is in force till November, the formal inauguration will have to wait,” he said.
The authorities have filed the papers before the DGCA and are awaiting its response to a query whether a fresh inspection can be avoided as a three-member team, led by its Deputy Director (Operations), carried out a two-day surveillance inspection of the airport and the terminal last week.
The hurdles in obtaining clearance from the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services and making the terminal a Customs-notified area have been overcome.
Efforts are on to certify the 220-metre-long six-lane bridge linking the terminal to the National Highway 47 bypass and a ramp connecting it from Chakka and another from Eenchakkal, constructed at a cost of Rs.21.73 crore by KITCO for the State.
Implementation of the decision of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) to collect a user development fee of Rs.755 from each international passenger flying out from here for 10 years was postponed in May following opposition from various quarters. The decision has been referred to the three-member AERA Appellate Tribunal, headed by the former Supreme Court judge Arijit Pasayat. Another issue to be resolved is the shifting of the cargo complex manned by Kerala State Industrial Enterprises Ltd.
The AAI has finished the works inside the three-storey terminal and equipment has been put in place. Personnel of some airlines have started working from the offices in the terminal. Landscaping of the parking area facing the Parvathy Puthanar is in full swing.