Special Correspondent

TIRUCHI: The Tiruchi Airport's extended runway will be commissioned on Thursday, paving the way for introduction of more air services to the city soon.

The runway extension project, which began in March 2004, was completed last year, except for a few ancillary works. Calibration of the glide-path of the extended runway was carried out recently. The Airports Authority of India has cleared its commissioning.

Airport sources said the extended runway would be operational with effect from 5 p.m. on Thursday.

The runway has been extended from 6,100 feet to nearly 8,000 feet at a cost of Rs.26 crore. A modern fire station has also been constructed. The commissioning of the runway, after a long wait, will give a boost to the travel trade here, as a few air operators are eyeing the Tiruchi market.

The Air India Express, a subsidiary of Air India, may launch operations on the Tiruchi-Dubai and Tiruchi-Singapore sectors from March 26. These services will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The airlines use Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The flights will also provide connectivity to Chennai.

Kingfisher Airlines, which recently introduced services to Bangalore from here, is likely to introduce daily services between Tiruchi and Chennai in the next few days.

Mihin Lanka, a budget airline of Sri Lanka, is also planning to introduce services to Colombo from Tiruchi.