Civil aviation ministry officials to meet chief secretary today

Officials from the civil aviation ministry will on Saturday meet bureaucrats from the State government to push for the proposal of a new airport at Sriperumbudur.

The proposed airport will be built over 5,000 acres and will cost Rs. 20,000 crore, according to Airports Authority of India chairman V.P. Agrawal, who accompanied minister of state for civil aviation K.C. Venugopal when the latter inspected the new international terminal at Chennai airport on Friday.

On Saturday, joint secretary of civil aviation Anil Srivastava will meet the chief secretary and the transport secretary of the State.

Mr. Agrawal said the new terminals of the airport, built at a cost of over Rs. 2,000 crore, will soon reach saturation point and cannot take the passenger load beyond 2021. “Beyond that, there is a necessity [for a new airport]. With a passenger capacity of 60 million, it will have two parallel runways so that there are simultaneous operations. The first phase will cost around Rs. 3,000 crore which may be used to create runway, terminal and other facilities,” Mr. Agrawal said.

A report has already been submitted to the state government by AAI.

After inspecting the terminal, Mr. Venugopal said that the new international terminal will be commissioned in one month's time.

“There was some communication gap and lack of coordination which caused the delay in commissioning of the terminal. We are waiting for manpower in immigration, customs and CISF,” he said.

The civil aviation ministry had spoken to the ministries of home and finance to fulfil the requirement of additional manpower, he added.

Mr. Venugopal said the Ministry will look into the issues of cost escalation and delays in commissioning of the terminals. The secondary runway, built at a cost of nearly Rs.450 crore, will also be operationalised shortly, Mr. Agrawal said. Only 7,500 feet of the 9,000-feet runway will be operational initially as some obstructions are yet to be cleared, he added.