The inordinate delay in commissioning the Aircraft Maintenance Base, a joint venture of Air India and the U.S.-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing, near the new international airport terminal here has come in for criticism.

The Rs.70-crore facility is coming up on a 6.07-hectare plot provided free of cost by the State government to Air India. The first phase was scheduled for commissioning in March last year.

Although the building has come up facing the Chakka-Airport road, the other works, including that of the interior of hangars, are in progress. The base is yet to get electricity connection despite paying required deposit to the Kerala State Electricity Board.

Construction of the parallel taxiway, to bring the aircraft that land on the runway of the adjacent airport to the base, is yet to be taken up. The work has been entrusted to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Shashi Tharoor, MP, visited the site on Thursday. He was briefed about the work by AIE Regional Maintenance Manager R. Raghu Kumar and AI Station Manager M. Jyothi Prakash.

Dr. Tharoor was told that the old hangar of Trivandrum Flying Club had not been demolished by the AAI. However, an AAI official told The Hindu that SILK (Steel Industrials Kerala Limited) had been given the orders to demolish the hangar.

Speaking to the media, Dr. Tharoor said there was no point in blame game and that he would take up the matter with the Air India CMD soon so that work on the base could be completed early next year. “Air India should give more attention to the project and take it seriously,” he said.

The base would take care of the maintenance of Boeing 737-800 aircraft used by Air India Express.

More In: KERALA | NATIONAL