Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI: The refurbished visitors’ gallery at the Tiruchi Airport will be thrown open for the public on Wednesday.

The sprawling gallery , constructed at a cost of Rs. 1 crore, was inaugurated by Commissioner of Police A. Alexander Mohan on Monday.

Visitors can enjoy the breathtaking sight of landing and take-off of flights from the comfort of the swanky gallery. M. Shivaraju, Deputy General Manager (Civil), Airports Authority of India, said that the gallery would serve the existing as well as new terminal slated for completion in two months.

According to Airport Director S. Sreekumar, the Rs. 79 crore new terminal can handle 200 incoming passengers and an equal number of outgoing passengers. The building that measures 11,700 square feet – 7,000 in ground floor and 4,700 on first floor – will have three escalators, five lifts, 13 check-in counters, one common use terminal equipment system, six immigration counters, seven customs counters and two security hold areas, one each for domestic and international passengers. Of the three aero bridges in the new terminal, two will be put to use and one will stand by.

Mr. Sreekumar was confident that notwithstanding the withdrawal of 10 flights a week by Deccan Airways, the airport would register up to 30 per cent growth in passenger movement this fiscal. Air Asia will operate a direct flight on the Tiruchi-Kuala Lumpur sector from December 1, and SilkAir, Air Arabia and Oman Air have already conducted the feasibility study and are looking for the right opportunity to start their operations.

Eighty five per cent of the passengers travel abroad from Tiruchi Airport, and hence the impact of the increase in air fare was not felt, Mr. Sreekumar said.