Mired in delays, the nearly Rs. 2,000-crore project is well past its deadline

What started in 2008 as massive expansion of Chennai airport hit several roadblocks, was repeatedly marred by delays and today, two years well past its deadline, the project is incomplete.

The project, launched five years ago, setting 2011 as the deadline, comprised construction of new domestic and international terminals, extension of the secondary runway over Adyar river, construction of additional parking bays and a new category fire station.

The cost of the project was increased from Rs. 1,808 crore to a little over Rs. 2,000 crore.

The new domestic and international terminals were inaugurated in January 2013 and thrown open for use by April and August, respectively, in a phased manner.

Five months after the departure operations at the new international terminal began, the arrival hall has still not been commissioned.

AAI chairman V.P. Agrawal said, “It is taking time to commission the arrival hall at the new international terminal because of inadequate Customs and Central Industrial Security Force staff.”

The secondary runway, whose extension from 1,032 metres to 2,032 metres cost about Rs. 450 crore, awaits clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), two years after its completion, said an official of Airports Authority of India.

The secondary runway, once operationalised, can support the main runway with an ability to handle five aircrafts per hour, and also undertake flight operations in case of an emergency on the main runway, he said.

“We are holding discussions with DGCA officials to operationalise the secondary runway soon,” said Mr. Agrawal

A recent government audit report noted there was a loss of interest of Rs. 190 crore over the secondary runway. The report also pointed to several losses incurred owing to delays in the project including delay in the commissioning of new terminals and the fire station.

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