Meeting decides to expand terminal, extend runway
A high-level meeting convened by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal at Karipur on Saturday decided to acquire land for the development of the Calicut International Airport within three months.
“There is no fund limitation. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) wants to expand this (Karipur) airport by taking the local people into confidence. It (land acquisition) has to be completed in three months,” Mr. Venugopal told mediapersons after the meeting, in which various concerns of the people of Malabar were raised and discussed.
The meeting entrusted District Collector M.C. Mohandas with initiating talks with the local people for the land acquisition.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed; Minister for Industries and Haj Affairs P.K. Kunhalikutty; Minister in charge of Airports K. Babu; Minister for Tourism A.P. Anil Kumar; M.K. Raghavan, MP; K.N.A. Khader, MLA; and K. Mohammedunni Haji, MLA, were present at the meeting, apart from top officials of civil aviation, AAI, and Air India.
The airport terminal building will be expanded within a year at a cost of Rs.120 crore. The runway will be extended by 300 metres on the eastern side. The AAI will spend Rs.200 crore for runway expansion. Air connectivity with Karipur will be increased soon.
Mr. Venugopal promised that the land acquired would be used only for airport development. There were rumours that the land was being acquired for other purposes. He said that the development plan of the airport would be put in the public domain.
The meeting decided to set up an incinerator at the airport to end the problem of garbage. The meeting also entrusted the District Collector with talking to the local bodies in the neighbourhood to set up scientific waste treatment plants.
Unscientific waste disposal, particularly of slaughter and poultry waste, in the neighbouring panchayats was attracting birds, increasing the chances of bird hits at the airport.
“The AAI is ready to fund it if the panchayats come forward to set up mechanised slaughterhouses,” Mr. Venugopal said.
He said the meeting decided to begin the inline baggage screening system soon at the airport. “No other airport in the State has introduced this system,” he said. Although set up a couple of years ago, the new system was lying in limbo owing to differences with the Customs Department.
Mr. Venugopal inaugurated eight new emigration counters at the airport. The total number of emigration counters has risen to 20.
AAI Chairman V.P. Agarwal, Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra, Civil Aviation Secretary K.N. Srivastava, Air India Express Chief Operating Officer Ansbert D’Souza, Calicut International Airport Director J.P. Alex, District Police Superintendent K. Sethuraman, and a host of officials and people’s representatives attended the meeting.