Foundation stone laid for new international terminal at CIAL

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday said that the State government would pursue the proposed Air Kerala project if Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh’s declaration doing away with the twin-conditions for starting international airline operations becomes a reality.

He was delivering the inaugural address at a function to mark the laying of the foundation stone for the new international terminal at the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) at Nedumbassery near here.

Mr. Chandy said that the proposed airline had been a longstanding demand of Malayali expatriates. The Union government’s stipulation setting five years of domestic operations and a fleet of a minimum 20 aircraft had put the project on the backburner. If these conditions were removed, then CIAL would take the project forward, he said.

Mr. Chandy said that the government remained committed to the decision to give preference to minority shareholders in the event of a fresh issue of shares of the airport. There were some practical difficulties in implementing it and the government is looking for ways to surmount them.

He said that in keeping with the request of the MLA and the local bodies concerned, the government has decided to take steps to fill the breaks in the road connectivity around the airport.

The construction of the Kannur airport would get underway on Sunday and the government is determined to complete it in a time-bound manner. The government also would develop the Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports by acquiring more land, Mr. Chandy said. Minister for Airports K.Babu, in his presidential address, said that the expansion of the airport would make it ready for handling A-380 and other big aircraft. The government would have fulfilled its promise to all 850-odd landowners with the issue of another 22 taxi permits. Mr. Babu said that it would be possible to extend Kochi Metro to the airport in the future.

The new terminal, to be set up at an investment of Rs. 800 crore, will have a built up area of 15 lakh sq.ft with a peak hour capacity to handle 4,000 passengers. Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty inaugurated the 1 MW solar power generation system.

Finance Minister K.M. Mani inaugurated the new duty free warehouse. Union Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies K.V. Thomas inaugurated the phase II of CIAL golf course while PWD Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju inaugurated the golf academy. Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob inaugurated the integrated airport management system