‘Construction of additional terminal building and new control tower under active consideration’

The next phase of expansion of the Tiruchi Airport would begin as soon as the required lands are made available by the State government, said G.K.Chaukiyal, Member (Operations), Airports Authority of India (AAI), here on Wednesday.

Proposals for the construction of an additional terminal building, to double the passenger handling capacity from the current 400, and a new control tower are under the active consideration of AAI, he told reporters.

Mr.Chaukiyal was here for an inspection of the airport when he also declared open the additional barracks for the Central Industry Security Force personnel, in-charge of the airport security, and an air-conditioned dog kennel for the force. The additional barracks has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 73 lakhs and the dog kennel, to accommodate six dogs, at a cost of Rs.39 lakhs.

The AAI has already drawn up a master plan for development of the airport, taking into account the requirements for the next 20 to 30 years.

The master plan includes a plan to extend the runway from 8,000 to 10,000 feet initially and to 12,000 feet ultimately. However, the execution of the plan would depend on availability of land.

“We have got very good support from the State government, which is working on the process of the land acquisition. Land acquisition is most often a difficult process,” he observed.

“We are ready to commence work once land is made available. There has been some delay. But the State government is at it,” added D.Devaraj, Regional Executive Director, AAI, Southern Region, Chennai.

Answering a query, Mr.Chaukiyal pointed out that the AAI has developed and upgraded about 58 airports, including 35 non-metro airports, over the past five or six years.

In the next phase, the AAI would focus on developing airports in tier II and tier III cities but this would require the support of the State governments. He indicated that about 20 airports could possibly be developed in the next four or five years. “The Union government wants to have an airport in every district. The AAI was identifying ways to develop airports at low cost,” he said.

On the proposed green field airport at Sriperumbudur, he said the International Civil Aviation Organisation has already submitted its report to the State government and it was up to the government to pursue it.

Earlier, Mr.Chaukiyal held discussions with S.Dharmaraj, Airport Director, K.Jebaraj, Deputy General Manager, Air Traffic Control, A.Radhakrishnan, DGM, Civil, S.Subramanian, Cargo Manager, and other officials.