After months of delay, the new terminals of the Chennai airport might finally be inaugurated by the end of the month.
However, it will be Vice-President Hamid Ansari and not Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who will be present at the function.
Airport Director H.S. Suresh said that he had been informed the that ministry of civil aviation sent a letter to the Vice-President’s office on Friday seeking his approval to inaugurate the terminals on January 31. Once the confirmation from his office is received, which is likely to happen by Monday, the new terminals may see the light of the day. However, it might be at least a month before the new domestic and international terminals become operational as decisions regarding commercial establishments are yet to be made, officials said.
Airport authorities had initially been very keen that the Prime Minister inaugurate the terminals. “We heard that PM and President are quite busy and hence ,they may not be able to make it to Chennai. Thus, the decision to approach the Vice-President was made,” said Mr. Suresh.
The unavailability of Prime Minister owing to his busy schedule had often been cited by officials as one of the reasons for the delay in inauguration. Another reason was the civil aviation ministry’s decision to wait till the inline baggage screening systems were installed at the terminals.
However, they have not been ordered. Instead, four standalone machines from the old domestic terminal and four inline screening systems from the old international terminal would be moved to the new ones. “We didn’t get the clearance to order eight inline baggage screening systems; hence we have decided to do away with it,” Mr. Suresh added.