The government has accepted 10 per cent sweat equity allotted by KGS Aranmula Airport (KGS), promoters of Aranmula airport project.

The government has also ordered that government ‘puramboke’ land essential for the operations of the airport should be given to the company after levying the market price.

An official statement jointly issued by Gigi George, KGS managing director, and P.T. Nandakumar, executive director, said the government would appoint its nominee on the company director board shortly. The proposed airport project would generate direct employment to 1,500 people and indirect employment to more than 6,000 people.

They said the location of the proposed airport was close to tourism destinations such as Kumarakom, Alappuzha backwaters, Kumily high ranges, and the Periyar Tiger Reserve headquarters at Thekkady.

The statement claimed that the majority of NRI passengers at the Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports originated from within 50 km of the site identified for the airport at Aranmula.

The KGS statement says that the Aranmula airport will be the first private international airport in India which will cater to the aviation needs of Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki and Alappuzha districts, which together accounts for about 21 per cent of the State’s foreign tourists and 14 per cent of domestic tourists.

The statement further claimed that air traffic in Kerala had multiplied five times in the past eight years - from two million to 10 million passengers.

They said the project work would be launched at the earliest so that the airport could be commissioned in 2014 itself.