The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) and the Navy on Wednesday entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of a naval aircraft enclave at the airport.

Airport Director A.C.K. Nair and Navy Command Aviation Officer Captain Mahinish Ghai signed the MoU.

Clearance from the Navy was critical for the construction and operation of CIAL. It was earlier agreed that 10 acres of land would be provided by CIAL to the Indian Navy at the airport. The naval aircraft enclave would come up on the land handed over to the Navy by the airport under the agreement, a release issued by the airport said.

The proposed naval aircraft enclave, the construction of which will begin shortly, will have a hangar for bigger aircraft of navy, administrative office, disbursal centre, apron capable of holding two Boeing aircraft and a taxi track. The construction will be supervised by the Military Engineering Services and the Navy.

The new facility is expected to be of immense utility with the present landing strip of the Navy becoming insufficient for new generation aircraft like P8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The CIAL and the Navy have a long standing relationship in airfield lighting engineering and exchange programme in aircraft rescue and fire fighting and similar operational areas. The naval aircraft enclave at Cochin International Airport will be the second such facility of the Navy attached to an international airport. The other one is in Mumbai. CIAL is the first public-private participation model airport to hand over land to the Navy for such a facility.