The Air Cargo Complex at Tiruchi airport would become functional from August 15.

The Airports Authority of India has initiated steps to create the infrastructure for the cargo complex at the old terminal building of the airport. “We have already started the process and are planning to make the air cargo complex functional by August 15,” S. Dharmaraj, Airport Controller, told The Hindu, here on Thursday.

The AAI has planned to make necessary modifications in the old terminal building, adjacent to the new terminal, to accommodate the air cargo complex. The old terminal building would be modified at a cost of nearly Rs.1 crore and the AAI is likely to call for tenders for the project shortly. All necessary approvals have been obtained and only procedural issues need to be completed.

All standard facilities that were required for an air cargo complex would come up under the project. The complex would house transhipment godowns, cold storage facility for perishable goods and a separate enclosure for hazardous goods and a strong room for valuable items. Separate facilities and space would be provided for export and import goods. Apart from these, X-ray scanning machines and weighing equipment would also be installed, Mr. Dharmaraj said.

A few months back, the Central Board of Excise and Customs issued the notification permitting “unloading of imported goods and loading of export goods or any class of such goods,” at the airport. In March, a two-member team of the AAI from New Delhi had visited the airport to assess the infrastructure requirements and the potential for cargo movement here. They also held extensive consultations with representatives of airlines, trade and industry, including representatives from the Karur textile manufacturing units, to elicit their views on the potential for cargo movement from the airport. According to estimates, the airport had a potential to attract about 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes of cargo a year in about two year's time.