Union Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel on Tuesday informed the Rajya Sabha that the expansion of the Chennai airport would be completed in time in January 2011 as the work was progressing at a good pace.

Replying to a question raised by K. Malaisamy (AIADMK) and subsequent supplementaries during Question Hour, Mr. Patel said major expansion at the airport was being carried out to augment passenger aircraft and cargo-handling capacities.

“The Chennai airport expansion is on time. Twenty one acres of land has been identified to be acquired from the Defence authorities for undertaking development works,'' he added.

The Defence Ministry had agreed to hand over the land to the AAI but only a part of it had been handed over (so far). The Defence authorities have lately accorded working permission on the land required for upgradation of the airport, he added.

A new integrated terminal building was being constructed at the Madurai airport and the Coimbatore airport terminal building would be expanded by May 2010.

A master plan for upgrading the Tuticorin airport in phases had been prepared and the Tamil Nadu government had been asked to provide 586 acres of land free and without encumbrances to the Airports Authority of India, he said.