Decks have been cleared for Madurai airport to receive international flights with the Union Finance Ministry sanctioning customs clearance facility.
In a notification, the Finance Ministry has included Madurai airport in Section 7 of Customs Act, 1962, to allow unloading and loading of baggage. The notification, issued on December 31, has come into effect from January 1.
Hailing the declaration of Madurai airport as customs airport, the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry thanked Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M. K. Alagiri, Union Minister of State for Finance S. S. Palanimanickam, and B. Manicka Tagore, MP, for their efforts in this regard.
Pointing out that the notification allowed unloading and loading of only baggage, the senior president of the chamber, S. Rethinavelu, said in a statement that it would restrict the international status to operation of passenger flights to and from overseas destinations.
The chamber appealed to the Union Minister of State for Finance to include “unloading of imported goods and loading of export goods or any class of such goods” in the notification. This had become imperative considering the abundant opportunities available in Madurai for export of jasmine, surgical equipment, textile made-ups, apparels, handicrafts and granite icons.
At present, these goods were exported through Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and other airports.
The chamber also appealed to the Minister to post personnel from the Madurai Central Excise Commissionerate at the airport to undertake customs clearance.