City’s second airport may come up in Kancheepuram or Tiruvallur

Nearly 10 years ago, the State government announced a plan to build a second airport for Chennai at Sriperumbudur.

Thereafter, the Chennai airport went through phase I modernisation and a few years after the terminals were saturated phase II project is all set to begin in a few months. But even now, there isn’t a concrete proposal for the second airport for the city whose traffic has been growing rapidly.

Recently, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha too spoke of the need to have a greenfield airport for the city at the earliest.

The only development perhaps in recent times is that Sriperumbudur will no longer house the second airport and the State may choose from four other sites —Walajabad and Madhurantakam in Kancheepuram district and Alamathy and Gummidipoondi in Tiruvallur district.

Officials in Airports Authority of India (AAI) said the reason to look for alternate location arose owing to availability of land. “After the initial announcement, not much happened with the project and in the meantime, there have been a lot of development in the areas. Also, the available land are not together. The lands available now are few and far between. It will be extremely difficult to acquire the remaining lands,” he added.

Cost factor

Even if the State wants to acquire, the cost of the project will grow manifold, they said. “The guideline value has changed; plus, the market prices have multiplied enormously since the project was announced,” an official said.

Officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and AAI said they have had been meeting the State government authorities every now and then to push for the project.

“Recently, when we met the authorities, we asked them to identify a site so that the rest of the process can begin. We are waiting to hear from them,” an official said.

The sooner the process for the project begins, the better it is, they added. “Just getting permissions from various authorities will take a few years. After that, the construction will consume another 4-5 years. By that time, the phase II modernisation also would not be enough to cater to the city’s traffic,” he added.

When the new airport becomes operational, it is likely to have only international operations, say officials. The domestic operations may continue in the existing airport. “So if the new airport is located 40-50 km away, we need a direct overpass or a high speed rail corridor to transit passengers,” an official said.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 2:03:59 am |